The Power of God’s Country

God’s Country: “A place conceived of as especially favored by God; a place away from a city.” Merriam-Webster

Last weekend, my husband and I flew to Virginia to see our youngest at school. She was thrilled to have us there and kept us really busy with her friends and touring around the university. It was all precious, precious time together, but there was something extra special about driving (and stopping) along the Blueridge Parkway.

We have traveled through Virginia for years, heading south every spring break with the kids. Back then, we drove which was exhausting, but we saw some beautiful scenery along the way. I fell in love with Virginia. I can appreciate northern Virginia for its proximity to D.C. and many historical sites. We have visited people and toured Leesburg, Arlington, etc., and enjoyed the shopping and eating. All of my travels there offered wonderful sights, but mid to lower Virginia is just stunningly beautiful.

Maybe it’s because I live in a part of NYS where we don’t have mountains so I’m always captivated by them on vacation. Maybe it’s because I live on five acres with a long driveway and I am a girl who likes open space.

I work in the city and take a deep breath when I hit that part of the thruway that finally parts wide. My town is lovely yet there was something much grander, peaceful and right about standing at the center of miles of valleys and mountains.

My job is stressful. I received a promotion a few months ago which was awesome but my hours went up, along with my stress. I do yoga and try my best to compartmentalize work from home but it’s challenging. Above and beyond is usually a way of life. Sustaining that level of giving and producing at work and then home is depleting. An hour of exercise a couple times a week does not restore me as it may have back in my 20’s.

The breathtaking mountainside along the Blueridge Parkway brought my shoulders back down where they belong. I walked in sneakers instead of heels. I breathed deeper than I do on a yoga mat. My eyes were off data and employee issues, soaking in what I name God’s Country.

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen

Those mountains reminded me that I’m missing time with God. We talk every day but my world shifted when I took on another job. I don’t spend enough time in the wide-open space of His Word. Peace like I experienced at the mountainside is elusive during many work days.

Make no mistake that He speaks in offices, at the watercooler, and has made His presence known during colleague conversations. But I thirst for more. I count this as a good thing. I never want to be comfortable too far away from Him, living lukewarm.

Late Sunday I had to come down from the Virginia mountains, just like Moses when he descended from Mt. Sinai. I reentered work on Monday, having to immediately address poor management behavior, just as Moses was confronted with poor behavior by the Israelites. The corporate culture at my company is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced, leading to high turnover. But God uses me for good in my particular role. I believe that He put me where I am to be a light in a crazy place as well as teach me a few lessons of my own.

He is at work and accomplishes His purposes even when we’re not in bible study. He is always with us but there is something powerful about standing in the literal “mist” and “midst” of His spectacular creation. Being engulfed in endless autumn color, feeling cool wind against my face that also refreshed my mind – and the complete silence in nature – equaled renewal.

There is a reason for all seasons in nature and in our lives. This specific season in my work life is challenging, but the chaos likely helps me appreciate God’s Country profoundly more.

Monday Praise

Doth not all nature around me praise God? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Charles Spurgeon 

“Let all that I am praise the Lord” Psalm 103:1

Photo: Virginia mountains, October 2019

We Want It Now God

We want it now God.

Healing for our loved ones. Not in a little while longer. It’s already been too long. They need energy for work. To earn a living. To pay the medical bills and restock the drained savings account. Energy to play with their children. They want to help their children raise their children…we want the healing now.

Salvation for those who refuse to accept Jesus. You break down hardened hearts, not us. We don’t care about the journey getting there 10 years from now. We’ve already been praying for 10 years. Time is up. We want them saved now.

We want the promotion now. We’ve already been patient. We’ve waited on You.

We don’t want to go through the hard times to appreciate the good times. We just want the good times. Now.

We want an easier life. Now. So that we can finally relax and enjoy the rest of our days in peace; with security; with less worry.

Yet at our inner core we know this is not how He works. The journey does matter for the unsaved. The prayer journey for those praying matters. He uses the misery, the pain, the drudgery, monotony, unfairness…it is all His will not ours.

It is always His timing, never ours.

So we surrender.

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” NLT 2 Peter 3:8

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