Words bounce off my heart like rain on pavement. Not just any words. God’s words. They won’t go in. It’s like I’m closed, locked up tight.
I sit with my Bible open on my lap and remember another time when I felt like this. We were on vacation in the arid little town of Osoyoos. I wrote,
After breakfast we got into our friends’ blue Honda and headed north. On the way we passed a fruit stand with a red and white CLOSED sign on the door. The curtains were drawn, and I imagined the owner safely inside reading a paperback and sipping coffee. That’s me: CLOSED. I’ve had enough truth for one season, thank you very much. I don’t want to witness any more train wrecks or hear any more bad news from the TV, from the mirror, or my bathroom scales. I need no more evidence of how messed up we all are or how little I have to show for my life. I know “the truth shall set you free,” but that’s assuming you survive the shock of hearing it first. Solomon, in all his wisdom, should have added another verse to Ecclesiastes 3: “There is a season to be open and a season to be closed.” I was certainly closed for the season.
As I remember that time I am struck by two things. First is the fact that I noticed my desire to shut out both God and my feelings. Sometimes I can go along in life oblivious to the big CLOSED sign I am wearing around my neck.
Second, there was a reason I was closed. Recent events triggered memories of others from long ago and I didn’t want to go there again. The steady drips of the “truth” they told turned into a downpour and I quickly closed up shop.
I read the scripture passage again searching for a thought that might penetrate my heart. This line does it: “Without you nothing makes sense.” I sit in the silence and open the door a crack so God can slip in.
“What happened?” God’s voice is soft and gentle. “Tell me, what’s going on for you?”
God’s questions, like the hand of Moses, strike the rock of my heart. Out gush words, my words, and God hears them all.
Questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- What makes you close your heart to God?
- Can you leave your shop closed while God slips in to listen?
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