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Knowing & Doing

From the Fall 2014 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Waiting on the Lord While Unemployed

by Doug Greenwold
C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow, Senior Teaching Fellow, Preserving Bible Times

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 A few weeks later, I was at an evening church service. It started with a trio of praise choruses. Unbeknownst to me, the third one, “This One Thing Is Needful,” was going to speak to me. What did the prayer express as most needful? “That I sit at your feet and pour out my love.”1    
  There was the challenge again, this time in song. But it was what you do when you sit at the Master’s feet that hit me hardest! “Pour out my love”? How do you do that? I can imagine how a woman might respond, the nature of the man-woman relationship being what it is. But a man “pouring out his love” to the Father and His Son—this might require significant breaking of new ground!

Can’t Get Away from Doing Something!

  At least now the objective was clear. But I still wasn’t sure how to go about the process. Mark suggested using a workbook called Space for God that was subtitled Study and Practice of Spirituality and Prayer. That did seem like what I needed! Mark said the workbook was the culmination of the author having spent a year’s sabbatical with Henri Nouwen at Yale studying a Reformed perspective on meditation and contemplation. So I ordered a copy. One week later it arrived. At least now I had something to do!
  The thesis of Space for God is self-evident. Many of us are so busy “doing,” becoming so preoccupied with the externals of our lives, that we neglect the interior. So absorbed with frenetic activity that we end up coasting through life with an “empty tank,” while deluding ourselves that we are mostly full. And the one thing that is absolutely “needful” becomes the one thing that we (almost) never do—sitting at the feet of the Father and pouring out our love.  

Creating New Space

  Having no prior concept of what one does when sitting “at the foot of the Cross,” I started with what I knew. I set aside several hours a day to read and study the Scriptures, as well as ponder spiritual and devotional books. After a couple of hours of meditating on the Scriptures, I would spend time in Space for God, taking a leisurely stroll through each of the pages exploring what meditating on God’s Word and contemplating the Lord meant. I discovered it takes time for transformational truth apprehended by the mind to travel fifteen inches south to where it can (start to) marinate the heart.  
  Since the book contained many marvelous quotations from numerous classic devotional sources, I began to “follow the footnotes.” This led to reading other devotional classics, discovering the Desert Fathers, the Russian Orthodox mystics, revisiting the Reformers, etc. Basically I tried to emulate “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps. 37:7).2
  At first, setting aside that much time each day was not easy. My mind often wandered and “being still” was hard—at times seemingly impossible. But having at least gotten underway, I found the iceberg of habitual “doing” beginning to melt and the essential spiritual truths of “being” slowly beginning to sink in. The steady stream of “2 x 4s” filled with ideas and truth that hit me over the head prompted me to document the many meaningful quotes I was encountering.

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