I’ll start with an anecdote. Back in the last two weeks of my spring quarter this past year, I had pulled an estimate of 8 all-nighters in a row and was basically running on fumes. Bags under my eyes, hands shaking, heart palpitating, I had become a walking corpse of myself. In all my frustration at the lack of sleep, insurmountable of studying that needed to be accomplished, and piled up stress I had accumulated, I took a different approach on the 9th day and decided to sit down in my apartment and listen to a 2013 Bethel Set with Kim Walker-Smith singing Holy Spirit. Immediately, I started weeping and felt the presence of God so heavily in my room that I could not stop worshiping and sitting at the feet of Jesus for hours. I ended up listening to this song for two weeks straight through the rest of my finals!
Now, what happened? To put it simply, I simply met and encountered the REAL presence of God in my greatest physical and spiritual weakness. In that moment, nothing was more important to me than sitting and beholding who God is in all His glory! Pumping caffeine into my systems everyday, my body was physically deprived from my unsustainable studying schedule. I also had not spent time with the LORD for a week; thus, my flesh began to surface in the ugliest ways as my spirit was crying out for the presence of God in my life that had been absent. (Gal. 5:17-21)
Often times in a culture like ours that propels us to keep our schedules packed and strive to make our ends meet through every endeavor, it becomes quite difficult to find time to simply sit and rest at the feet of Jesus. We have been taught from an early age to prioritize our own goals and make sure that we STRIVE to achieve them before anything else. All things revolve around how prepared we are for that next career fair or sometimes it can be the next ministry we serve in. What this leads to in our hearts is known as: Burnout.
If I were to define Burnout, I’d label it as “a deprivation of the one true need in our lives: a continuous, daily communion with God’s presence and beauty.”
Burnout is an overflow out of the lack of intimate love and joy we find with Jesus in the quiet place. Hence my title for this blog, I personally can testify that the Secret Place with God has been where He has restored me from my deepest sense of apathy and complacency! God is allowed to do a transforming work in us to a much more magnified degree when all the distractions of the world are forcefully shut aside for the all-consuming splendor of His holiness. (Psalm 29:2)
ENTER THE CLOSET
So, what do we do? Well, in Matthew 6:6 Jesus says…
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
A lot of brothers and sisters that I have talked to about their own secret places have shared the same sentiment that actually engaging in prayer with God is the most difficult task to do. But, one question that I asked them was, “How often are you going into your closet and spending time with God in the hidden?” Most would usually respond with once or twice a week, which is pretty much the reason for their arduous attempt at being able to sit in stillness with God.
Prayer is an effort of the will. It is a concentrated and deliberate decision to focus on and behold one thing: God. -Oswald Chambers
When we have spotty and inconsistent meetings with God, our flesh naturally begins to resurface in the days that we DON’T commune with Him. It’s almost like your spirit inside is crying out for the lovely presence of God during the days that you find yourself “too busy” or “too tired”. Make this week a week of successive and consistent meeting with God, that you may be able to delight in all His beauty! O God, I pray that You would show us how worth it is to fight for our own Secret Places!
“One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
BETTER IS ONE DAY!
“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10)
This Psalm always blows me away… Think about this. One day spent in the courts and meditating in the throne room of God is better than a THOUSAND DAYS on this earth. That’s 2.74 years calculated. Spending one day alone with God is better than: 2.74 years of any other “noble” pursuit of ANYTHING! It’s not just better in terms of the joy that we get to experience, but it’s far more effective than any of your own efforts to accomplish things for God!
Brothers and sisters. It doesn’t make sense to the world to put yourself in a closet for a portion of the day, sitting and waiting for a “God” to come and meet with you.
But to God, doesn’t it make sense that we quickly and without hesitation give up all the things unworthy of our attention, and direct ALL of it to the Holy of Holies, the King of Kings, the Lord of the Lords, the MOST DESERVING of all our joy, excitement, fear, honor, and love?… Let’s pursue Him today.
*Psalm 84: idea credits to Chris Ngai