Monday, September 22, 2003

If you are reading this I hope you will understand what this BLOG means. Maybe you had to ... be there. You figure it out.

I woke up this morning feeling desperate. Debbie was suppose to wake me up in time for me to accompany her to her doctors appointment. She didn't. This is Monday and I'm off and I wanted to go with her. She had other plans.

Ok. It's not a big deal. She's a big girl and she'll be ok.

That is when I realized that I was desperate. I had determined not to eat today. It was a fast concerning a particular situation that I wanted to bring to God's attention. As I lay in bed I prayed for that situation. But I didn't feel particularly pressed about it. I got up and showered. As I dried off I talked to God. It was a one-way conversation. I wanted to sense His presence. I wanted to know that He was in the room by hearing Him, or feeling Him, or SOMETHING. I was hungry. No, not hungry for food. I seldom eat breakfast. I'm afraid to even write this because it is going to sound "holier than thou." Please do not take it that way. I know I am not very holy. Nobody sees my issues and problems as clearly as I do. So I hope you understand. Either way, here goes ...

I was hungry for God. I was desperate to sit with Him. It was not that I felt like I had to have the answer to a problem. I just needed Him. Here. Now. And it did not feel like He was around. As a matter-of-fact it had not felt like He was around for quite awhile.

I remember sitting on my mega-chair, pulling on my Adidas. As I did I told Him that I needed help. I needed to get on my motorcycle and "get out of Dodge" and I needed to do it before someone caught me. So I hurried. I grabbed my IPOD, put the earphones in my ears, dialed it to play songs at random (meaning it had 1,722 songs to choose from.) I do that often. When I do I ask God to program the IPOD to play what He knows I need to hear. I ask Him to minister to my spirit through the music that He chooses. Not surprisingly, He often does just that. It amazes me how He meets me inside of my burgandy helmet time after time.

This time was no different. The first some was strictly instrumental. Actually it was the theme song from the movie "Pearl Harbor." Nothing too spiritual about that. But it was restful and relaxing. I focused on the orchastra as the wind blew through my open face mask. The next few songs were a mixture of praise songs and semi-rock songs declaring the Glory of God. I listened and as I did I prayed. I knew where I was heading. I took the long way around, stopping at a Casey's gas station in the country near Fosterburg to buy a bottle of Vanilla Coke before heading on.

As I rode I prayed. "God. I need you to meet me. You know where I am going. I don't want to ask You anything. I don't have an agenda. But I feel as if I'll implode if I don't spend some time in Your presence. Please, please, please, show up. And let me KNOW that you are there."

After about 15 miles and 20 minutes I stopped in the middle of the country. The roads had been winding and patches of gravel had played havoc with my sense of security. But I arrived at the ancient "Wood Cemetary." As I dismounted I grabbed the bottle of Coke and walked out to "my spot." I had been here more than once. In the middle of this small, old, country cemetary is a bench. It is made of marble. The bench itself is a tombstone. On the left is the name of a husband. It tells me the day he was born and the day he died. On the right is the name of a wife. Her birthdate is listed. There is no date of death. I assume she is still alive. It is odd that this bench is actually a grave marker. Often when I am meditating on God I imagine myself walking down a road until I see Jesus in the distance. We always walk toward each other until we meet at a bench in the country. I began this exercise long before I found Wood Cemetary. Long before I knew that this bench existed. In my mind Jesus and I would sit and talk. I always asked and He always answered. Or sometimes we just sat quietly. Once you have been with Jesus you realize that words are superfulous. They are usually not needed. Mother Theresa was once asked what she talks about when she prays. She said she seldom says anything and that God seldom says anything either. She then said that if you don't understand that ... you have never been with God. I understand that.

I sat on our bench. I took my helmet off and tossed it onto the grass, making a mental note to check for tic's before putting it back on. I turned the IPOD off and pulled the headphones from my ears. The cemetary was not silent today. An engine of some sort ran in the distance. It might have been a lawn mower but it sounded more like an ATV. I really don't know. But mainly I heard the wind. It sprinted through the trees like a million sparrows on a cross-country journey. It was restful. I heard God in it. But was He really going to show up in a tangible way... the way I needed Him today?

I reached to my belt and pulled out my Palm. I have two seperate versions of the Bible installed on it and I chose to open the modern translation of "The Message." I felt compelled to do something I had done many times before. You see, if you tap the name of the book of the Bible that is open you will suddenly see the names of every book of the Bible appear before you. I did. Without looking I tapped the screen. The next thing to appear was blocks with numbers in them. The numbers represented each chapter in the book I had spontaeneously chosen. I closed my eyes and tapped a number. Now the screen showed the same boxes but each one had the number of a verse that appeared in the chapter I had tapped on. I blindly chose a verse. Only then did I glance down at the screen. I read what was before me. Here is what it said...

"Phillipians 2: 10 that all created beings in heaven and on earth - even those long ago dead and buried - will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father."

I sat in Wood Cemetary for 90 minutes. I did not pray. I had nothing I needed to say. I didn't really hear God "speak" after reading those verses. He did not need to speak anymore. He was there. Jesus joined me on my bench and we sat together and listened to His wind play His music in His trees. I found myself raising my hands to Him much as a little child raises his hands to his Father when he wants to be held. I felt His strong, gentle, embrace. The problems, the battles, the scars, the stresses, the tensions, the angers, the disappointments, the questions, the emptiness, the guilt, the fear, the sadness ... all faded in the presence of my Jesus.

As I stood to leave my eyes fell on another tombstone a few yards away. I was looking at the back of the tombstone. Engraved in it were the words, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that god raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10: 9" I walked to the front of the tombstone. The name of the deceased was prefaced with the word "Reverand." He had been dead for a long time. And he was still preaching after all of these years. May I be as faithful.