For these weeks that I have been studying the letters of Bro. Lawrence and the writings of other early Christian writers, I have pondered in awe over their experiences that led to such devotion for the One, True God. (Spending much time in Asia among polytheism and animism the reference to God as the “One, True God” holds special significance to me. It is one of the truest Truths I know.) Devotion. This word possesses a power capable of penetrating the soul. The very image and nature of devotion has alighted my spirit this morning as I sit in meditation on the God of Love, the God who creates the stars in the heavens, the mountains of the earth, and the depths of the oceans. Of all His wonders, it is hard to fathom that I, so unworthy and ungrateful, draw His attention. Not only does He answer when I call, but He draws heartily near. What a gift is His sweet Presence!
Perhaps over these past weeks of study I have been too focused on the mere (I daresay worthless) act of devotion and have given far too little attention to the object of devotion. I confess a bit of shame here. Odd that one seeking a greater level of intimacy with Divine Majesty would focus more on the path than the prize! Alas, this is human nature – a nature of works and human effort. Grace. Today, however, I taste a new freedom in devotion: God, Himself.
It is liberating! I am removed and only He exists. The troubles and cares of this world fade away and my inner soul is filled and consumed by Love. As Bro. Lawrence might say, I am practicing the presence of God. It is a practice, a discipline, a developing habit. By no means is the study I endeavor a waste, though for many days at a time, weeks even, I feel I have made little progress. I will press on. . .”so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12 – the namesake of my blog). I am in pursuit.
And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to GOD, which I may call an actual presence of GOD; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent and secret conversation of the soul with GOD. . .Bro. Lawrence