Easter brings out the grumpiness within me. I recognize the inherent value of certain holidays, but the commercialism involved saddens me. So, this year I decided I needed to do something to change my attitude. I needed to focus on the meaning of the coming Easter day.
One of our local churches was offering Walking in His Footsteps, a self-guided, meditative, audio venture leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. There were sixteen stations, each positioned so that one could feel isolated while focusing on that particular experience.
I put on the headset and listened to the opening statements followed by some awesome worship music. My spirit calmed and I was ready.
The rooms were dimly lit, cool, and fragrant. Often with an odor that fit that unique scene. It was easy to focus. To listen. And to pray. Station one. Coming into Jerusalem. Palm branches surrounded me. On the headset I listened to Mark 11:1-11 describing Jesus’ entry into the city for the last time. This was followed by a brief commentary on these events. I was given a short time to reflect on it all. Then on to station two.
After the first few stations, I was wholly involved and loving it. Then I came to Gethsemane. Benches to sit on, running water, beautiful foliage. Peace permeated the scene. The audio guide suggested I hit pause and enjoy the experience. Meditate on what Christ may have seen, smelled, or heard. Luke tells us Jesus went there as was His custom. John tells us Jesus often met there with His disciples. This was not just the place where Jesus anguished but perhaps was a place for comfort and privacy prior to the visit associated with His betrayal. So, I thought, good idea, I’ll pause to sit and pray.
I looked for the pause button on the iPod they’d given me. I remembered the young woman giving me instructions when she handed me the iPod; forward here, rewind here, pause here. Dim lighting conducive to the experience made it impossible to see any identifying marks. Trying to remember where pause was, I hit the button I thought might be it and heard screeching. Not pause. I tried again and heard a soprano soloist hitting a high note. Wrong again. I punched more buttons and heard portions of words. This certainly was not peaceful. Definitely not pause. There’s only fast forward, pause, and rewind. Wouldn’t it make sense that I’d eventually stumble onto the correct button? I began to feel anxious. Agitation followed. Thoughts like, isn’t this just perfect. I try to get away for a little time with the Lord and I’m blowing out my ears!
What irony. Spending time with the Lord is something I want to do. Him and me. Relationship building. Every time I purpose to do just that, assaults of noise and distractions enter in.Uninvited and unwanted.
Picturing myself sitting on that bench in a sanctuary garden with a frown on my face, mumbling discontentment, while my fingers punched rapidly and repetitiously the tiny iPod in my hands, I couldn’t help but laugh. Find the pause button. Yeah right. This was the epitome of trying to find the pause button of life!
About that moment, my finger landed on the appropriate control. Silence. The pause button had been found.
Why am I surprised the battle to waylay me continues even after I’ve purposed, planned and began my time with Him? Satan will always be faithful to disrupt my time with the Lord. The phone will ring. The dog will bark. I can’t find my Bible. My pen will run out of ink. My nose will run. It makes sense because it’s when we sit quiet at His feet that we are most likely to hear His voice. I was reminded that day how important it is to persevere through the chaos. To purposely find the pause button. Because once I do, my Lord and I can chat. It’s worth the effort.
Mona Shriver: Mona Shriver worked as an emergency room nurse until the Lord called her out of that profession and into ministry. She is a Precept trained Bible teacher, has been active in women’s ministries, and speaks at special events and retreats. She serves her local church body in central California.
Mona has been married to Gary since 1974 and they have 3 grown sons. She and Gary co-founded Hope & Healing Ministries Inc. http://www.hopeandhealing.us which provides support and resources for couples in adultery recovery. They co-authored the book: Unfaithful, Hope and Healing after Infidelity. Learn more at Website:http://www.hopeandhealing.us