These days …

My life these days has a lot of what I call emotional whiplash. Day by day more emotional emails come in from from readers saying how this or that book – especially the new one – has helped save their faith, kept them in ministry, brought them to faith, and so on. As I read them, I’m so deeply touched and encouraged. I realize how blessed I am to be able to write, to be able to connect with people and in some way be of help to them, and to receive encouragement back from them. Then – lest my head become swelled or my heart complacent – the next email will be scented with fire and sulphur, expressing disdain and sometimes fury. It’s pretty strange.
A lot of friends are asking how I’m dealing with this kind of whiplash. I tell them I’d hate to have one kind of response – whether negative or positive – without the other, because either way it would be dangerous for the soul. But handling them both together has its own challenges too.
One of the keys to survival for me is solitude … having time to be alone with God, to escape from the swirl of human praise and blame and seek to still and quiet my soul in the presence of God. Sometimes that solitude comes on an airplane, of all places, or sitting in an airport. Far better when it comes walking along a beach or along a trail under trees. This morning it has come in a few quiet hours reading, and soon, in going to church. Of course it will be great to experience fellowship and be among friends, but these days, it’s the quietness and stillness, the slowness and intentionality of public worship that means more to me than anything. In the presence of God, we can rise to a higher perspective, see things from a new altitude and in a new light, rest in God’s gracious and holy presence, and so the soul is restored. Whatever you’re going through, may that be your experience today.