What gate do you like to go through to spend time with the Lord? Where do you go to search for an answer, make a decision, change your mood, ask for forgiveness, or reflect on the day? Where do you go to inhale the Holy Spirit and exhale Grace?
Some people take their Quiet Time while running. I remember long runs with the Lord when I didn’t want to turn back. Other seekers go to a chair, a room, or take sunscreen to the beach. Gardeners find quiet solace with worms and bulbs in the Creator’s dirt. Heaven only knows where mothers of small children can find a nook of peace. We all need time alone with the One Who loves our soul, the One who calls us to be with Him.
I think my mother thought she found God when she went shopping. Whenever she pulled up in front of a store or mall and found a parking place right in front (she often drove around several times searching), she would exclaim with satisfaction, “There must be something in there the Lord wants me to have!” In she would go, looking for Him in her own way, as happy as if she had a ticket to heaven in her pocketbook!
When I wash dishes I gaze out of the window above my sink, leaving food particles on silverware and pots. It’s embarrassing. I have no idea what my hands are doing in the soapy water.
The arbor and gate at the back of the yard have my attention, not the dishes. Our backyard is alive with memories. It has been the scene of engagement celebrations, dozens of Easter egg hunts, thousands of barbequed hamburgers, decorations for every season’s holiday, many Birthday festivities, 4th of July and Labor Day hoopla, swimming instructions for nine grandchildren and three dogs, a graduation party, and more golden pink sunsets melting beyond the fence than can be counted. This yard has embraced our family and our lives have evolved within. But I keep gazing past the back gate at another world.
Beyond the gate lies a pristine golf course with cropped Bermuda grass, rolling hills, winding cart paths, and trees along the fairways. Even when the course is being played by groups of four, mostly riding in golf carts, the voices traveling in the breeze are hushed, almost reverent. In every season, there is a signature beauty along the paths of eighteen holes spawning seven miles of faithfully tended nature.
Sometimes, if it is not in play, I can walk the golf course. Usually I can only look at it wistfully, knowing its’ peace. It possesses a Canaan like quality - a spiritual pull. I must go and be there. I leave my world behind and step forward with purpose.
Stepping forward through the gate for a walk on the golf course is my time with Jesus.
We all want perfect serene places to be intimate with our Lord. We want to hear Him call our name. The meadow, the seashore, or mountaintops are idyllic pastures to be with the Shepherd Who promises to tend to our every need. Where is the gate through which we can go and close out the cacophony of our daily lives? It doesn’t always lead to a golf course.
Having recently returned from a seven-week vacation in Florida, traveling in a motorhome with my husband, I discovered that Jesus is the Gatekeeper of extraordinary vistas in the form of stories. While our RV has many of the comforts of home, such as a dinette, a bath and a half, and a home-size refrigerator, we are still confined to the area above the wheels! Dan is a clever, intelligent, and articulate man who processes his many interesting thoughts out loud. Though we enjoyed each other’s company and the fun we had, space and silence were not easy to come by while we were on vacation.
I prayed for a way to give God a greater measure of myself over the weeks of Lent during our time away from home, but was frustrated with my worship. It seemed I was either crowded or interrupted.
In the recesses of my soul, God opened His gate. He showed me that quiet and space are not requirements for His Presence. The people I met were to be my place of worship. They held the gates through which I would find Christ. Dog walkers, campground neighbors, bartenders, shopkeepers, and strangers along the sidewalks, all became the places I could surrender myself to Jesus. Just with a smile and a greeting, I was blessed in return with stories shared, joys imparted, and the gift of new friendships. The gates of Heaven flew open and I celebrated Lent on vacation!
“I am the gate. Whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
Going in and out the Jesus Gate, wherever it leads, to fairways, stores, or people, must be intentional. When we want Jesus, need Him, for refreshment, recovery, restoration, or rejuvenation, we must go to His gate and walk through it fully expecting to find Him there.
He is there, you will discover, because He has always been with you. His Presence will fill you when you go to Him and boldly ask Him to meet you at the gate. There, Jesus your Shepherd, welcomes you.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)