Every follower of Christ that I know desires unhurried time with God. But why does it seem like that is the one thing that is most often and most easily neglected?
People have needs; tasks have deadlines. They are in our faces in a visible way. Time with God is not urgent in the same way.
However, our connection with Him is the most necessary and most important choice of the day.
People often put time with God in the language of spiritual disciplines, something that will help us grow in our relationship with God.
But for me, putting time with God in that category gives it a different meaning.
The relational aspect of it goes away.
Instead of spending time with Someone I love, time with God becomes something to do, something to check off, like physical exercise. The discipline itself becomes the focus. When I check it off, the quality of my relationship with God is defined by achievement.
Yes, I did it, but the real question is: did I connect with God?
“Unhurried” matters because sharing your heart with God takes time and attention. I, for one, am not always aware of what is going on in me. I can almost observe some of my reactions and ask myself, “where is that coming from?” The unhurried time is where I get to bring those emerging parts of myself that are not mature, to the Lord, and let Him do the searching of my heart.
While visiting a team in France last year, we spent some time looking at some verses on prayer, including I Peter 5:7, “Cast your cares on the Lord, because He cares for you.” I was sharing about the word cast. How would I throw my cares on the Lord? Someone at the table piped up, “The French word there means unload!” UNLOAD. There’s a concept. Am I unloading my cares to the Lord?
When I heard that, I thought about unloading things from the trunk of my car. I put them there for safe-keeping while I was doing other things, but when I get home, they come out (most of the time). I unload them.
I do the same thing with the cares and concerns of the day! I put them somewhere for safe-keeping. I don’t have the time to deal with them at the moment. Someone needs an answer or a conversation or a response. Whatever it was is now relegated to some place in my soul equivalent to the trunk of my car.
My problem is too often I don’t unload the trunk when I get home. Things pile up in there, and like anything that doesn’t get addressed, at some point, things begin to spill out or spoil in some way.
Unhurried time allows me to come to the Lord and
- unload the things that have piled up in my heart.
- confide in Him the things that are burdensome
- share my feelings with Him and seek His comfort or wisdom
- ask Him to make a way for the places where I’m stuck
- see Him in the splendid truth of His greatness
- hear His counsel, receive His guidance, and
- truly connect with Him.
When I linger in His presence, He speaks and things become clear. I can see and confess the ways that I’ve offended Him and others. I can bring the things that have delighted me, encouraged me, and made me see Him in a different way than before. I experience the reality of His forgiveness and acceptance.
When I have spent unhurried time with the Lord, bringing Him into everything happening in my day becomes easier, because we have already spent time together. Like conversation with your best friends, you can just pick up where you left off. I love that.