As I stood looking out my back window the other afternoon, thoughts of spring, rebirth and holy ground flooded my mind and my heart.
Though a nice January day by northwest Iowa standards, we are in the dead of winter here and hope is sometimes fleeting during these cold, hard winter days.
My friend Janelle over at www.ihavebeenchanged.blogspot.com posted an entry called "Holy Ground" the other day and got me to thinking about that topic - those special places where we have seen and met God - those places in our world that we deem to be holy ground.
I immediately went to my back window and the hours that I spend on my lawnmower during the spring, summer and fall. My lawnmower and my lawn are my sanctuary, that place where I go to unwind - let my hair down, if you will. We - God and I - have the most intimate times there.
It is on the lawnmower that I listen to my wife's iPod, belting out praise and worship songs for hours on end. I once thought that the lawnmower was loud enough that others couldn't hear me, but am pretty sure that is incorrect - who cares? It is always a great time of worship for me.
It is on the lawnmower that I go to God with the cries of my heart. It is there, during that mindless act, that we meet one another and that I experience a little grace and peace in asking what it is He wants from me in this life.
Jeremiah 29 tells us: "you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found be you."
I love the truths that the Lord has for us in His word. I love the fact that we can find him, and do so when we seek him with all our hearts.
As I read Janelle's post, the old hymn by the same name, Holy Ground, came to mind...
This is Holy ground,
we're standing on Holy ground
For the Lord is here
and where he is, is Holy
This is holy ground,
we're standing on Holy ground,
For the Lord is here
and where he is, is Holy
We are standing on Holy ground.
And I know that there are angels all around
Let us praise Jesus now
We are standing in Your presence
on Holy ground
"For the Lord is here, and where he is, is Holy." For me, my backyard is holy. Though it is snow covered and ugly with dead grass right now - it is Holy ground.
So is my living room. It wasn't really until reading Janelle's post that it dawned on me - that it really sank in for me. I have blogged about my desire to be intentional in reading, praying and studying as I "used to."
I have had mixed results so far this winter. Life blows by at breakneck speed and we let things get in our way of spending time with God. For me it is rest.
I have been so dog tired of late that I really long for my lawnmower - that forced 2-3 hour break in my week that I spend on Holy Ground. I used to have that time in my living room, in this spot right in front of my fireplace.
I spent a lot of time there - in front of my fireplace - last winter and last spring. In prayer, in the Word. I had some amazing moments there. When I do spend time there, the chorus from that old hymn becomes true. "We are standing on Holy ground, and I know that there are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now, for we're standing in Your presence on Holy ground."
Yesterday I returned to the fireplace - my indoor holy ground - and commit to meeting him there every morning in prayer for my dear friends Scott and Jennifer Lee, and his dad Paul, who is home on the farm...living.
It was 11 months ago that Paul learned he had leukemia (yet another attack on this old soldier's body). After months and months of treatments, he was home working on the farm as he loved to do, when recent back pain sent him back to the hospital. A new fungus was detected, pain meds were administered to deal with that pain and some relief was coming, but last Friday a scan showed that the leukemia cells had returned.
At this stage, Paul's options are pretty limited, so he is choosing to live. John 10:10, to be exact: "He came that they might have life, and have it to the full." He is at home on his farm in northwest Iowa where his family and friends continue to pray for that healing miracle, but he is also there choosing to live, to make memories with family and friends.
Watching this past 11 months from a close distance, to hear how Scott and his dad have talked about their faith with one another - for father to tell son of his own holy ground and his own blessed assurance - is a thing to behold. While it has been an incredibly hard 11 months, I believe it has also been a good 11 months for them spiritually, relationally.
So often we go about our days with no true purpose, just getting by to the next day. Over the past year these two farmers and their family have had some great times and will continue to do so. They are just more aware than ever - than most of us - that these times really are fleeting, that we really don't know how much time we have on this earth, and so they are living.
I praise you, Jesus, for your work in the life of the Lee family. I praise you for their strength in the storm. I praise you for perseverance. I praise you for their witness to your power, might and strength. I praise you for the love of a family on display for the world to see.
I am reminded of another piece of scripture. Matthew 11:28 says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
This is a verse for LIFE. When we are tired and stressed, when we don't know what to do or where to go - we may go to Jesus - learn from him - and he will offer rest. Not necessarily more sleep, that's not it. But peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow, a will to live.
And so I commit to standing on Holy Ground, right there in front of my fireplace, every morning on behalf of the Lee family (and others in our lives who are in need of prayer - the list continues to grow), knowing that there are angels all around...knowing that He offers rest for our souls...that He listens to us.
Will you join me by standing on your own little piece of Holy ground on their behalf and on behalf of those in your life who need your prayers - who need Jesus?
Grace and peace,