As crazy as this might sound, I miss commuting to work. I used to drive about an hour to work each way and it was time I often spent in worship, thinking, praying and just being with Jesus. These days, I commute from my hometown of My Bed, to the City of Office, just past Kitchen, not far from the Couch.
While the coffee here is better than drive-through, I find myself longing for those drives, where I could be still and quiet and pour out my heart to God. I could meet Him there in worship and tell Him what was on my mind, the good, the bad and the ugly. Some days I feel like I’m quarantined from Him too since I no longer have my built in time with Him.
It’s hard to feel like I can go to meet Him there, when I’m stuck here, elbow deep in homeschooling, housework, packing for a move, and working from home 40+ hours a week. I’m busier at home than I ever was commuting an hour away and it’s tough to get away to meet with God.
I find myself feeling envious of the surreal moments in the Bible, when God reached down to Moses, Abraham, or to the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah in such tangible and sensational ways. It seems like God stopped all of time and space to get their attention, to speak to them and to direct them. I started wishing that He would reach down into my monotony and speak to me and guide me too.
But as I read God’s Word, I’m reminded of the truth of His character and the many, many ways He pursues us. There are so many examples of God meeting us in our need, right where we are, reminding us “I am with you, always.”He is not waiting safely from the shore until the storms pass, He walks out on to the water to calm our hearts and still the wind and the waves. We don’t have to travel or drive or even strive to be with God. He is right in front of us, heart wide open, ready to hear whatever is on our hearts.
I love the story of Mary Magdalene in John 20:11-16. She goes to Jesus’ tomb early Easter morning, just 3 days after His crucifixion, only to find the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body gone. She assumes that He has moved or worse, that His body has been stolen. She finds herself stuck between death and a miracle that she has no idea is coming. An angel appears to ask her why she is crying and she sadly proclaims that someone has taken Jesus away. When she turns around, she finds Jesus is standing right next to her. He too asks her why she is crying, but she is so consumed by grief, that she mistakes him for the gardener…until He says her name. Her eyes were opened and she saw Jesus there before her, risen and alive.
I love the tenderness and honor Jesus shows her in this moment. He came to her first, before anyone else. She didn’t have to go up on a mountain or travel miles and miles to catch a glimpse of Him. He saw her grief and pain, went to meet her in her need and comforted her.
Jesus meets us in our need now too. Whether we are doing the dishes, caring for kids, working from home, or wondering how we’ll make ends meet. He sees our pain and our struggles and our weaknesses. Jesus sees it all and stands beside us. He calls us by name and comforts us. You don’t have to go to great lengths to meet with Jesus, because He’s already there with you.
One of my favorite authors and speakers, Jill Briscoe once said, “Sit on the steps of your soul, in the deep place where nobody goes, and talk with Jesus. You can always go there, anytime, anyplace in the world.” She talked about sitting on the front steps of her childhood home in England and talking with Jesus about whatever was on her heart. It was her place to go and be with Him, and even if she wasn’t physically there on those steps, in her mind she would return to the “steps of her soul, in the deep place where nobody goes, to talk with Jesus.”
I feel like I live now more than ever, on the “steps of my soul”. In this strange season of isolation, I’m more aware of the quiet corner of my heart where my deepest thoughts and feelings reside. And the miracle of it, is that Jesus is there too.
I realized that I don’t have to get away to spend time with Him. As much as I love my long drives and unhurried conversations with Jesus, He walks beside me in everything I do. When I close my eyes in a moment of stillness, He is there. When I’m doing my 3rd load of laundry and second load of dishes in a day, He sustains me and gives me a sense of purpose. When I feel stir-crazy and anxious, it’s His hand on my shoulder calming me. When I grieve over our “new normal”, He consoles me. When a harsh word from a loved one stings, He is there to comfort me and build me back up. When the harsh words would be mine, He gives me wisdom to hold my tongue or the courage to humbly apologize.
When we allow our Savior into our mess, when we meet Him in prayer, suddenly we are not alone. We have a sanctuary in the madness, a quiet place in the midst of chaos, and a friend when we need it the most. Just like Jesus saw Mary in her moment of need at the tomb, He sees us now. We don’t have to fight to get to Him, we just need to listen for His voice and look up. He’s right here, ready to love and comfort us and sustain us.
I pray that you can carve out a little time to meet Him today. Spend a moment on the “steps of your soul” and just be with Him. Read Psalm 139:1-10 and be reminded of the God who created you, and sees you and loves you. May His peace wash over your heart and His love reach the furthest corners of your mind. May you experience the comfort of His presence, and the joy that comes from knowing Him.