Pondertude, Round 2

Continuing the conversation about Pondertude ā€“ my term describing times of solitude with God, pondering life together with Him. Time alone with God is not something that seems to come natural for us, which is a bit odd given that we were created to be in relationship with Him. I wonder if maybe we work too hard at this, making times with God far too difficult. I wonder if we should learn to relax a bit more in this endeavor.

As I have mentioned previously, I periodically use the devotional guide A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. One of the strengths of the guide is the myriad of Readings for Reflection by authors we might not typically stumble onto. A couple weeks ago, one of the readings was written by early 20th century educator, Glenn Clark. I thought it worth sharing in the context of not striving so much, of relaxing as we learn to spend time with God…

It has been my observation that all the great praying people are simple, relaxed people. Mrs. Thomas A. Edison once said to me, “Mr. Edison’s methods are just like yours. He is always perfectly natural and perfectly relaxed. He feels that all his discoveries have come ‘though him,’ that he is but a channel for forces greater than himself.”

Always natural and always relaxed! I do not like to see people work too hard at their prayers. When one strains and labors over their dream they are too often carving ivory and not polishing horn. Don’t cut too deeply, don’t carve too hard, don’t paint the picture too much yourself. Get still awhile and let God paint it through you. Wrote [Mount Rushmore sculptor] Gutzon Borglum, “When I carve a statue, it is very simple. I merely cut away the pieces that don’t belong there and the statue itself presently comes into view. It was there all the time.” (From I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, Glenn Clark.)

Each week the Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants directs the reader to focus on a single Psalm. This week it has been Psalm 90 written by Moses, containing the relatively familiar statement, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.” Pondering this passage, I wondered how this statement might translate to my life. Geek that I am, I fired up the HP15C calculator app on my phone and discovered something pretty interesting:

If a thousand years are like a day to God and one lives to be 80, then they will end up living 1.92 God hours! A couple hours! What’s more, if one works for 45 years at 50 hours/week, the sum total of all their work (striving?) would be (are you ready for this?) approximately 19 God minutes.

Then why, oh why, do we strive so hard, “carving ivory instead of polishing horn,” turning a natural relationship with God into hard work? Relax and enjoy Him. After all, you only get a couple hours with Him as you walk this earth!

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Curt Hinkle

I am a practical theologian. A theology that doesn't play out in one's everyday life is impractical, or of no real use. A simple definition of theology is the attempt to understand God and what he is up to, allowing us to join him in his work.

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