What if you had nothing to do and nobody to do it with? For some this is a horrible fate, for others it is a paradise. I have a place like that. I have never been there except in dreams and in my imagination. But I know it exists. Sort of.
It is a composite of places I’ve been to in my life that I found relaxing and rewarding. It is usually a cabin and is almost always on a beach, and almost never are there other people. My wife and I have no cell phones, no interruptions, just peace and quiet. One time I was by myself in a trailer in the middle of the desert like a stranded astronaut on some distant planet. That was weird.
What these dreams have in common is that there is nothing that needs to be done. No houses or cars to fix, no meetings to attend, no people to see. There is nothing but nature and time.
When I imagine these places, I find myself usually sitting on the porch looking at the world. Yet I wonder what I would do if I actually lived in such a place. Would I be content to just sit and do nothing? Would you?
The reality is that I would do something. Even if I was all alone, truly alone, I’d do something. There’d be the obvious things like enjoying the natural world around me. More than likely, I would use that time as I imagine monks use some of their time. I would use it to chat with God. And better than me talking to God, I would listen for his voice.
You see if you really want to get to know some one you don’t do all the talking. You listen to them. You ask them questions that help them tell you their story. You seek out time with them. You knock on their door once in a while. Ask, seek, knock. What a great way to build relationships. And it sounds familiar. Where did I hear this before?
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7: 7-8
Jesus said it. No surprise there since Jesus said many profound things, often reducing complex thoughts and problems into such simple statements or stories. Now when Jesus said this He was making a promise. The promise was that when you ask God, he will answer. When you seek God’s will, you will find it. When you knock on God’s door, he will invite you into a relationship with him.
I have many friends and some very close ones in my inner circle. When we first met, we didn’t know each other except maybe by what others told us. Then we started asking each other questions, seeking what was important in our own and each other’s hearts. We began to knock on each other’s doors for opportunities to be together. That is how you build friendships.
In our daily schedules and busyness and even wasting of time, we don’t often do these things. We go about the same routine as we always do. When we have time, we use it to rest or to relax. We use it for ourselves.
What if you had all the time in the world? Would you ask, seek, and knock? People wander off by themselves to be alone and find themselves. But what if we wandered off our own and found Jesus?
I’m not talking about selling everything and moving to some secluded cabin. Most of us can’t do that. I’m talking about wandering away from our routines by saying no to our busyness or our hobbies for a little bit of quiet time. Time in which we can ask God, seek his will, and knock on the very heart of our Lord. Instead of seeing what our virtual social media friends say, let’s find out what God is saying.
And with God, your secluded cabin can be on the bus, in your living room, bedroom, car, or wherever you are. Make an appointment if you have to. Five minutes with God is better than five hours with anyone else.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.