Today I find myself once again wrestling with the tension between the prayerful and practical parts of my life. I am sure others do this also, and maybe it reflects the ongoing tension that exists in this world of ours, in the 'church', in the outworking of The Life that is continuing to grow and find expression through our lives.
The picture I have in front of me is of a woman with her head stuck in heaven and her feet firmly attached to the earth, and this ongoing desire to comfortably marry the two so that existence can be a little less tense! It feels as if there has to be some place in the middle where the two can meet and co-exist in a manageable manner.
Even as I write that, I suspect that it will never be possible and that there is a picture here of something that needs to exist to give expression to the place we stand in, a place that will only alter when Jesus Himself comes to rule and reign.
I love to sit in His presence, to spend hours in contemplation and prayer, to be in this world and, for a little time, not really of it at all. Then out of that time there is a love set in my heart that overflows and has to find its outlet; that feels the pain, sees the brokenness, and needs to somehow engage it.
Somehow this does bring about a meeting place - where I can experience great joy as I see that His love is enough as it touches a life for a moment, as a circumstance changes, as hope is released where it previously did not exist, This meeting, however, is momentary and not sufficient to sustain for any length of time.
Back into the hidden place I run, heart empty and open to be filled and owned again, soul in pain, spirit crying out for more of what compelled me outward in the first place.
This tension is like a wheel that constantly turns. Yes, there is a kind of rhythm in its turning, and yes it holds me to something greater than myself as I turn, and yet there are moments when I want it all to stop.
Are we engaged without knowing it in some kind of intercession by this very life we live, and in these very battles we fight within and without? I hear the calls to prayer - they bellow at me over the Internet - and yet most of the time it seems that this daily working out of life itself, in the context I find it, is the prayer, and it is all I can manage. There is nothing left over for formal prayer meetings or lots of words.
This silent struggle is ongoing, 24 hours a day, every day, and brings with it moments of hope and moments of despair, moments of joy and moments of pain - a constant movement through a range of thoughts, emotions, feelings. It provokes an ongoing conversation with the only One who can answer my questions.
The sustaining force behind it all is the hub on which the wheel turns. The One who is The Answer. The One who loves more than I ever can. The One who paid such a huge price to make the impossible possible. Truly in the midst of all this Jesus remains always the same. The Lord's presence constant and assuring. It is His peace that breaks through the tension and takes hold of my heart again to hold is secure and move me forward into the next hour, and the one after that. He alone defuses the tension and makes sense of it all.