Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Camp of Contemplation On the Path to the Prize

When your plans seem to come unstuck,
Don’t be discouraged,
Don’t give up,
Press in upon His Spirit,
And steadily resolve — there’s another way.
There’s always another way. When God has assured us of our way, and then we get confused and frustrated and we feel abandoned, because that plan seems thwarted, His Holy Spirit invites us to press in upon Him, and find another way.
If what we do is for His glory, He will make a way for us. He will.
There are many times along the passage of a journey where God will, through the circumstances of life, force us (if we’ll submit) to stop and take up our camp of contemplation.
There’s not much point resenting the fact of our having to camp; it’s what we need to do to reconnect with the plan that God has for us. He can’t get us all the way there otherwise.
God knows we get ahead of ourselves. He also knows that we can only take little pieces of the plan at any one time (Matthew 6:34). We do get ahead of ourselves. I know I do. And yet God understands. Frustration and despair are part of the journey along the road toward any good thing.
Having to draw aside to nestle in, with our Holy Companion, we gain perspective for having rested. Yet not many of us are satisfied to rest when there’s a conquest to be had. But submission into rest is partaking upon the rest of Jesus; to once again commit not only our way again to Him, but also our very selves. He wants us, and not us contingent on our plans. Jesus is no conditional lover.
When God brings a stop to our activities He gives us a choice to choose between resting in the camp of contemplation or getting lost in restlessness, to where we find ourselves camped in capitulation. That’s a capitulation to our circumstances, and to our despair — that’s the world’s way; not God’s.
Think on Ezekiel 47:11-12 as a lesson in staying humbly submitted to the Lord our God. Staying with the flow of the river, where life teems, is dependent on staying with the will of God, taking our rest, but having things our own way just sends us off into a swamp or salty marsh, where there is no life. But life is in taking God at His Word — the assurance of the Plan He’s locked into our hearts.
Let us hold onto that Plan, with faith, with patience, with due diligence, agreeing to partake in our camp of contemplation regularly. To take our rest. To replenish our spiritual strength and to gather resources for the next part of the journey.
Who is it that directs our journey?
Who is it that brings us to a place where we have to stop, to reassess, to come back to Him.
We all need Him who we stray from. And yet, as soon as we’ve strayed we see how weak we are without Him. Life gets hopeless again.
We need Jesus. We cannot achieve our plans without Him.
Hold on and don’t let go.
He who knows us so well will not leave us nor forsake us regarding the Plans He’s promised us, in His time, in His way.
When we surrender the process to Him, Jesus secures the prize for us.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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