A New Season of Let (not a typo)

All of these pictures were taken last week while wandering around the grounds at Camp Crestview.

All of these pictures were taken last week while wandering around the grounds at Camp Crestview.

This time last year, I referred to the Season of Lent as my Season of Let. I had forgotten about this until having some time to journey around in nature recently.

While taking pictures of dew resting on branches and grass, I remembered one of my favorite verses about God’s “voice”:

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
– Deuteronomy 32.2

Only a few days ago, I stumbled across this short verse while flipping through the pages of an old Bible I used a few years ago. The words stopped me, but so did many others as I scanned through passages I’d underlined and notes I'd written. This morning though, they came back to me:

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
– Deuteronomy 32.2

The word “let” seems ridiculous. Who would not “let” God speak gently to them? But then, there are days when God’s presence and ways feel so distant, my reaction to this word is, “Of course, I’d ‘let’ God speak. Why wouldn’t I? Now, if only God would start speaking!” Couched in the middle of that indignant thought is the real question: Why wouldn’t I let God speak?

There are many reasons I’d rather not let God speak into my life, here are some personal biggies:

  1. Busyness: I’m busy. I’m trying to balance learning to be a loving and present husband and father with working long hours, maintaining meaningful friendships, juggling miscellaneous responsibilities, and allowing some space to take care of my own internal condition by doing things that bring me life (nature, music, writing, and rest).
    1. Busyness reduces my sensitivity and receptivity to the “descending dew” to the likes of precipitation gathering on a windshield as I drive 60mph trying to get to my next destination. It’s not that God isn’t speaking, it’s that I’m having to look past it, toward the next thing I have to do. Plus, God can wait, right?
  2. Exhaustion: Busyness creates exhaustion. This takes a toll on every area of responsibility, including making space for things that bring me life. When I finally do find a hour or two to myself, I end up finding I’m emptied of energy or the ability to rest because I’m in need of recuperation and repair.
    1. When my energy is drained and I am in need of recuperation, my attention is sleepy. My eyes need to shut and I just want/need to go to sleep. The “descending dew” on “tender plants” is lost on closed eyes, unable to see it. It’s not that God isn’t speaking, it’s that I’m buried, out of reach, and disconnected.
  3. Irritability: Exhaustion creates in me irritability. I know this well. And the first people to receive and perceive my irritability are those closest to me, which only irritates me more.
    1. When I’m irritable, I’m closed off and running on fumes. Recuperation becomes a burden. Easily, I find myself resenting things that would normally produce life in me. It’s not that God isn’t speaking, it’s that I couldn’t care less about what’s being said because I’m too self-centered on thinking that no one’s listening to me.

Those are just a few reasons why I wouldn’t “Let” myself receive the Gentle Whisper. Of course, recognizing and acknowledging these issues is a big first step to overcoming them. It enables me to communicate more clearly with myself, God, and others. Communication helps create connection.

This all hinges on how I manage my own mind. Do I make space in my thinking for stillness and receptivity? Or do I hurriedly rush from thinking about one responsibility, relationship, desire, or worry to another? And then, do I fill any gaps that might occur in my day with music, my cellphone, brainless chatter, or resentment? Another temptation might be to fill any alone time with over-analyzing myself. Perhaps, I’m giving into that temptation right now. It is a temptation that distracts me from simply letting the word or presence of God descend on me in this present moment, and in my present condition, as a “tender plant,” rooted and established in love (Ephesians 3.17).

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
– Jesus, Luke 17:33

It’s not about me. It is about Christ. It is about letting myself participate with what is present and descending gently all around and on me right now. This challenges me to completely reconstruct how I’ve allowed my mind to wander thoughtlessly through each day. It invites my consciousness to wake up and stay awake. It directs me toward life, and life in abundance.

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance; to the full, until it overflows.
– Jesus, John 10.10