The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
Spending time with God influences and puts into perspective my way of looking at things.
The Master listens enigmatically
To have a breakthrough as an artist, I need doors to be opened by the media, distribution networks, etc. But, so much for that: I might well have knocked on them, hammered away at them, to the point of wearing out the wood (backed up by phone calls, letters, licking of boots, etc.)... to no avail: they remain shut!
But when I speak about this to the “Master of the keys” (guess who that is...), I detect, in the silence of the forest, his slightly patronising smile, which, however, is always accompanied by a look full of kindness!...
And when, in the end, one door does finally half open, I can only point out that this isn’t the result of one of my moves, but first and foremost a fulfilment that has come from His grace...
Hmm, so why not just put in an order, sit down and wait? you’ll say to me.
It’s because God isn’t a delivery service. I see him more as a friend, an ally, who, when we go off to war and really put our heart into it, falls into step behind us and supports us totally.
The ultimate time-saver
“Whoever walks with the wise, will become wise… ” (Proverbs 13: 20)
Spending time with God influences and puts into perspective my way of looking at things: ‘being’ is more important than ‘doing’… and it’s the only way I know of progressing, both naturally and in depth...
The wisdom of the person I am speaking to is like this tall pine tree which, despite its apparent immobility, never stops growing in strength and beauty in the silence of the forest, far from the applause of the crowd.
It’s made of solid stuff and the little creatures that come to take shelter there know that well. It had pride of place in this forest long before I was born, long before all the other inhabitants of these woods!
With hindsight, I realise that this or that door, that I was so keen to open, wasn’t as indispensable as all that and – oops – in the end, if it can be found, I’ll have wasted quite a bit of time knocking in the wrong places... which makes me think that I should have come here before!
The enchanted path
It’s winter and if the snow hasn’t arrived yet, the cold certainly has, breathing hard as it passes through the streets, which have completely emptied of their passers-by. As for the forest, it has taken refuge on the heights of the village, fleeing galloping urbanisation, itself more harmful than the winter wind.
From the doorstep of my house, it is possible for me to admire in the distance practically the entire expanse of the woods which I walk through on a daily basis.
Suddenly, there, in front of my eyes, I see for the first time an amazing phenomenon, the breadth of which I had never fully taken in before: the starting point of ‘my’ path marks precisely the boundary line of a white frost that covers the rest of the forest! As I walk into it, I am enthralled by this extraordinary spectacle.
My usual scenery has adorned itself in a magical aura: a metamorphosis the full extent of which I am probably the only one to grasp. This warms my heart sufficiently to relax the features of my face – till then numbed by the cold – and to leave only a genuine smile there, which I turn heavenwards. Overwhelmed, this is my way of sending back to Him His wink of an eye!
The ultimate revelation
This morning, I finish getting ready to go out when a little voice behind me holds me back:
- Dad, I want to come into the forest with you!’
I look down and discover my little mite of a son, who, with all of his 5 years of age, is looking at me, full of hope.
- But, Benjamin, you’re going to be bored, I’m not going to be building tree-houses, I’m just going to be talking to God...’
And he says in reply, full of self-confidence:
- I know, but I have things to say to Him, too!’
Intrigued, I agree, but I already have that little smile which grown-ups have which means: ‘Yeah, right, little chap, we’ll see...”
And, sure enough, we hadn’t gone 100 metres into the woods than my Benjamin was already talking to me about different Pokemon families and the importance of the way they evolve... Hah, I knew it!
But I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm: quite the opposite, I decide to get involved in his talk and to play an active part in it. I try to understand his areas of interest, even though I know they are pretty unimportant (I mean, Pokemon!)...
There is nonetheless in my look all the gentleness and attentiveness of a kind-hearted father towards his child.
And, hey, after all, I’ll be able to go back into the forest later, for ‘serious things’...
The greatness of the little child
I am moved by little Benjamin’s interest in living this moment with me. When he takes my hand, in one fell swoop... I understand it all! Feeling the fragility of his hand in mine, listening to his child’s voice ends up melting away my irritation...
Honestly, when I wear myself out explaining to my Creator how life functions, when I graciously dispense to Him my sure-fire marketing advice, which is supposed to lead us straight to immediate, interstellar success! !...
My talk must seem to Him scarcely more credible than my son’s stories about Pokemon! !
I understand then that nothing else counts more than being there with my little boy, whom I love more than anything. Talking becomes secondary...
That’s the greatest divine lesson ever received in this forest. And it was given to me by a little child.
The silent path
The following morning, I leave my small town behind me, immersed in the winter gloom... Strangely, today, only the path I take is in the sun.
There is, in the warmth of its rays, the presence of God walking by my side. It’s so powerful that words have given up and passed the baton on to tears of joy.