This is the fourth in the series of stories to encourage engagement and open our eyes to participate in the message and story of Scripture. Participation by living into the scriptures and allowing them to become an unforced work of grace through His transforming power. The Bible is not meant to be a reference book used to gather dry information through weekly Bible studies. The truth is we don’t live our lives by information gathering but rather in relationship with a redeemed community and more importantly in union with God as He reveals Himself to us. Listening is an important key in this process and that is why you and I are invited to incline our ears to the Voice of the living Word…
I sat quietly alone thinking about what it means to be attentive and have focus in the way I live my life. My Guide had exposed my own distracted ways resulting in detours that had led me into frustration and a lack of fulfilment. And then that penetrating question, “Are you listening, really listening?” Motionless, I felt deeply captivated.
I remembered reading in The Manual which was given to me when I started out on this pilgrimage. The story described my own dilemma but provided a way forward to escape the crosswinds of distraction and hopeless dissatisfaction. It was a simple story but with a profoundly powerful answer which promised to secure a firm foundation for my life and others, yet few seemed to grasp its power.
I read the words aloud, “These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.” As I read, I recalled conversations about keeping my eyes and ears on The Guide rather than focussing on the journey.
“Read on,” said my Guide who had slipped into my presence bringing with Him an immense awareness that this was truly a significant time of realisation for me.
“If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last.”
“Nothing could shake it, it was built to last!” The words seemed to burn into my heart as I read and reread them over and over again. Overwhelmed with gratitude and wonder I looked across at this man who stood before me. My Guide smiled and the power of His expression burned life into my inner being a new awareness that something quite significant had just happened to me.
And then, my Guide spoke, “Watch what I do, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what I do is love you. Keep company with Me and learn a life of love. Observe how I love you. Not cautiously but extravagantly. I don’t love in order to get something but rather to give everything of Myself to you. Love like that!”
Tears welled up and my heart was full and awakened by His words. Springs of new life flowed as I basked in these intimate moments which would bring new thirst, new hunger and new life. Love for Him seemed to neutralise every distraction.
Could I ever be the same after that experience. I knew within that the coming days would require a daily choice to remain attentive and stay focussed. I also realised that I was not alone in this pilgrimage, and neither was I without purpose because I was His beloved. He had read my nervous thoughts about overcoming distraction and He smiled at me and simply said, “Don’t worry, we can do this together!”