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Transparent Thoughts

The Lay of the Land

Saturday, March 26, 2011 • Marcia Swearingen • Staying focused

Be still and know that I am God-Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

I'm not a great golfer, but I enjoy being outside on a beautiful spring day with a driver, a putter and the people I love. It clears my mind and refreshes my soul. Practicing on an undulating putting green, I was missing the mark--not reading the cross currents in that manicured surface.  They were as convoluted as the contours of my heart. I needed a strategy to restore my focus-- on and off the course.

With 24/7 news of global calamities, it's easy to get distracted and discouraged by each new wave of trauma breaking over  the family of man. We all grieve and deep down wonder why. I Peter 5:8-10 has a pretty good answer:

...Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Indeed, there is a war going on, but it's not the kind that we can see. It can be as brash as a terrorist attack or as subtle as a beautifully groomed green, but in both cases, the results can be costly without discernment.

The Bible records such a battle in 2 Kings, Chapter 6.  The King of Syria sent a great army with many chariots and horses to capture the prophet Elisha at Dothan. Seeing the forces arrayed against them, Elisha's servant despaired. "Alas, my master," he cried, "what shall we do now?" His master replied, "Don't be afraid for our army is bigger than theirs." In verses 17-18, Elisha prayed: "Lord, open his eyes that he may see!" And the young man's eyes were opened, and he saw horses of fire and chariots of fire everywhere upon the mountain.  As the Syrian army advanced upon them, Elisha prayed again: "Lord please make them blind." And God did.

As we journey toward Easter and on to Pentecost, I'm told the road to Emmaus is the best one to take. There, in Luke 24, is medicine for the weary soul overwhelmed by threatening events and blinded with grief. Everything the travelers thought was real had been taken from them by force and they were left without hope. But then a Stranger came and truly listened to the burdens of their hearts.  Once the mourners had emptied their souls, the table was set for an eye opening miracle.  Jesus had been with them all the time and would be forever.  They recognized Him when he broke the bread.

Resist the lie that all is lost.  Resist the devil of discouragement and he will flee from you. Watch and pray, Jesus said in Gethsemane, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and you shall receive power from on high. Pentecost is just down the road and with it amazing grace to chart your course in the midst of super and subtle obstacles, in spite of great brokenness-in fact, because of it.

So I forgot about my target, closed my eyes, and mentally remembered the flow and tilt of the land. Stilled by the moment, I opened my eyes, stroked the ball, and watched it track a perfect arc, right in sync with the break, eight feet into the hole!  The precision left me breathless.  I wanted to do it again.  Suspend perception, feel the flow, and follow through. The next ball dropped in similar fashion. And the one after that! Wow! The fourth one came close, but even God knew it was best to stop with three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt. 28:20 (KJV)

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