~By: Susanna Kozlow~
The end of the school week came. I remember it so clearly because it seemed like the longest day filled with so many different emotions. We were happy because we were heading into spring break, but we also felt a sense of urgency to get things accomplished. It was Friday, and we just had a pressing staff meeting the day before. We were compelled to get all assignments to our students on that last day of school before spring break "JUST IN CASE" school was to be closed due to this pandemic that had just brought fear, uncertainty, confusion, and down right annoyance too close to home.
A few days later, it was announced that school was to be closed after spring break. All I wanted to do was cry while thinking of the classroom of children I am surrounded by daily. Were they going to be okay? What about their families? Then, what about my own kids? What if I got sick and caught this horrendous virus? What would happen to my kids?
What if? What if? What if?
As I walked around my house, with every news station talking about "the death toll rising" and decisions being made, I couldn't help but feel utterly HELPLESS. Here was this abhorrent virus plaguing the world, and all anyone could feel was defenseless.
In the next few weeks, I had no time to feel anything. My world took a 90 degree turn, and I began virtually teaching a classroom full of third graders. This was something I knew nothing about. Not only that, I had two kids at home that began virtual school themselves. I felt relief that I had no time to think of the 'what ifs' anymore. Instead, my mind was filled with all sorts of 'what now?'
In the midst, I had time. I didn't think I had time at all in this last year. My time was stretched to the max, but now here I was with 'time.'
I wondered how many times God had wanted my time. How many times did He want me to stop and be still to hear Him? And now, the entire world had to stop. We were ALL forced to stop.
My prayers turned into questions - all sorts of questions. And as I asked, I found myself fighting once again to be still long enough to hear Him answer those questions.
I was reading through Luke several weeks ago. A verse jumped out at me. I had read this many times, but never really thought through it. In my daily desire to try to understand Jesus, and understand with complete lucency how He walked this earth, how He communicated with people and His Disciples, and most of all how He communicated with His Father, this verse stood out to me:
"After this, Jesus went up into the high hills to spend the whole night in prayer to God." (TPT)
"One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night." (NLT)
Then, in Luke 6:13:
"At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles." (NLT)
What struck me was continuously throughout the New Testament, Jesus spent most of His time with God. And they were long periods of time. As my elementary thoughts began to ponder this I thought, how long did it take Jesus to climb that mountain, and how long did He spend praying? It was ALL night according to scripture. It was a very conspicuous pattern that Jesus spent time with His Father before big decisions were made, so that He may obey those commands from God.
With that, I began to think long and hard about what my time with God truly looks like. I pray everyday. I'm in His Holy Word everyday. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me, renew me, and protect me everyday...but do I truly stay still long enough to hear from my Father? I really thought, yes I do. But what I heard next was not quite that.
Would I climb a mountain and spend 8+ hours in prayer and supplication to Him? I don't really think I could. And with that, I began to willfully stay still long enough to hear the next from my Heavenly Father.
Those that know me well know that I have suffered many pains and walked through wilderness moments many times, and each time a 'NEW' has come from it. There has been pain, but there has been strength and perseverance that have bloomed from all of it through my GOD. This would be no different.
I heard it said once that we think we know 90% about who God is and all He does. We believe there is only 10% more we need to know, when it's quite the contrary. We only know 10% about who God is and all He does. The rest of the 90% we are yet to know.
It's been almost a month now since the world came to a halt. I have watched many take great strides in this new life we were forced into. Parents began homeschooling their kids. Teachers have a new found respect. Church leaders are realizing the 'church' is beyond four walls. Families are spending time together, and we just have 'time.'
I have also watched many fill their once stretched schedules to a 'virtually' stretched schedule, all in the name of Jesus. And I thought, will they stop and be still long enough to hear what God wants to say?
It is so evident that we live in a very broken world. Our adversary fights hard. He is in for the long haul. But I often think, do we even know how to fight back with the power of Jesus in us? Do we stay still long enough to hear God's position through us in this world?
C.S. Lewis says it best: "There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan."
I pray today that you give God the time He deserves, friend, and that you stop long enough to hear Him.
I was inspired today as I read a dear friend's Facebook post. She said, "Don't be confident in anything or anyone but God - NOT even yourself. What if the purpose of the wilderness is not to make our lives easier but to make our souls stronger?"
Now there's a 'what if' worth pondering.
May we make the way to be still, may we hear the directions of our Heavenly Father as loud as roars. May we be bold in what we hear. When God wakes us up at 3:00 in the morning, may we think about Jesus climbing that mountain. And may we see hope through it all, knowing God's rule and reign is still over everything and His people, always.
Today I pray I always stop long enough to hear my Mighty God.