How often do you think you spend time with the Lord? I’m talking about actual quality filled time with God. Not the times that you go throughout the day saying a little prayer here and there or the times you read a quick devotional or scripture verse. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these times and they can be beneficial, but what I am referring to is completely different.
Here’s an example. Imagine that you’re married, with kids. As you are “spending time” with your spouse, you are also running errands, taking care of the kids, and driving through traffic. Yes, you are spending time with one another, but would this time be any different if you were both together, alone, and unattached from errands…kids….or traffic? Absolutely! There’s a huge difference! You would be moving from a shoulder to shoulder mentality to a face to face one instead.
I recently had some extended time alone with God, for 8 hours. Before you might start thinking of just how holy I am, please know that I have never done 8 straight hours alone with God before. Sometimes it’s hard for me to even have 5 minutes alone with Him. Can you imagine how difficult it was for 8 hours? I was pretty shocked by what happened and wanted to share that with you.
My day started off early in the morning (5AM) and I headed out to a state park where I could listen to music, pray, and watch the sunrise over the water. I’m a huge fan of sunrises and sunsets so naturally I found myself here first to start the day. It took quite a while to get started and settle in and before I knew it, I was reading through 1st and 2nd Timothy.
The best part of this day was that I had nothing planned. I had a general idea of maybe where I could go, but I just rolled with it and let things happen (something I’m not used to since I’m a planner). Do not disturb was activated on my phone for the very first time and there was an incredible sense of freedom that was taking place. I truly gave the day to the Lord and asked Him to lead me.
After finding out that the trails I was hoping to hike on were all closed, my car had trouble running and the wonderful check engine light came on. So now I am pretty far away from home and my car might not work anymore. Luckily, an AutoZone was nearby and I just made it to the shop to found out I had a dead battery. Employees there were incredibly helpful and I was told that the battery had a free replacement because of a warranty. Not only was I in a brand new location, but I was shocked to also find out this would cost nothing!
Later, I found myself about 30 minutes away at a Central Market in Ft. Worth. I’ve also never been in this location and spent a good chunk of time reading the Bible, a book, and listened to more music. I noticed that all throughout the day I was seeing everyone I encountered a little differently. These were complete strangers, but I loved them and had such a genuine interest in them. I wish I could say I felt this way every day, but have noticed without time with the Lord, it doesn’t happen.
As the 8 hours wrapped up, here is what stood out to me the most. I needed to slow down and see that God provides every little thing that happens to us. I needed to be reminded that He is in complete control. The way the Lord provided me to have time with Him early in the morning, that my car didn’t break down, that my battery was replaced, that He provided food and gas and time to make all of this happen…was all amazing. I realized this is where most people have an issue with faith or doubt.
Faith would say God provided the fact my car didn’t break down. Doubt would say I had a little more time on my battery before it would break down.
Faith would say God provided the free replacement at the right time. Doubt would say it was a great option for me to buy the warranty years ago.
Faith would say God provided food and gas for me to be able to spend these 8 hours with Him. Doubt would say I planned for it and had appropriate money to make this happen.
Faith would say God intentionally brought me on this journey and had me run into people I would otherwise never meet on any given day. Doubt would say because my car lasted for awhile, then almost broke down, then had gas to go to Ft. Worth, then bumped into specific people and specific cashiers, that it was all just part of my day.
Lastly, I was reminded on how much we must reflect on the Gospel…every, single, day. There was no way in the world I could have spent that much time with God or had a genuine interest in others if it wasn’t for what Christ has already done for me. Jesus modeled spending time alone with His Father many times in the Bible (Mark 1:35, Mark 6:45-46, Mark 14:32-34, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12) and if Jesus did this, so should we.
I would encourage you to spend time quality time with God. Read the Bible, pray, drive out to the middle of nowhere (check your battery first), go for a long walk, or visit a crowded place to pray for the people there. There’s incredible freedom on how you can do this, but just make God the priority. Consider having some face to face time with the Lord today.