Wow. Ruthie and I just came back from a “Prayer Summit,” in another state about five hours drive from our house. It was moving. He was there – you could sense it. There were about fifty folks who gathered at a mountaintop conference center for a long weekend to pray, to learn, to worship, to make deep re-commitments to living lives that would bring God honor and bring Him joy. There were times it seemed I could hear the wind blowing. (Act 2:2).
It was no accident that God calendared special events like that for Israel on their journey. He called them often to set aside a day, or a weekend, or a week, for the specific purpose of calling a halt to their routines and re-focusing on His agenda. There is something about that that is ennobling and gets our focal point back where it belongs.
But I need to tell you what happened to us on Sunday. Early afternoon as we drove away from the center I turned on the radio to catch up on the news. A strange thing happened. It seemed raucous to our ears. Raw. Dissonant. Though as a responsible citizen I want to be aware of what’s going on in my country, what poured into our car that day seemed like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard, like a herd of angry cats fighting in the alley. We listened for a few moments, but it felt so jarring, so irrelevant, so foreign that we turned it off.
We had just come from a sacred few hours in His presence and we were loath to lose what we had gained. We craved the experience – as the song says – “where the things of earth…grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” We wanted more than anything to take it with us.
I know, there are mountains and there are valleys, and we can’t live on the mountain tops. But the mountains prepare us for the valleys and we are reluctant to lose here what we gained there. Marriage isn’t one long honeymoon, but blessed is that couple who discovers ways to carry its strength over into the everyday.
After a similar retreat years ago in Oregon, a group of ladies who had attended descended on the ABC Christian book store. Shirley was the only clerk on duty and she apologized that because of the sudden glut of customers many had to wait in line to check out. Smiling, one of them said to her, “You can’t discourage us, we just came from a prayer retreat.” Fresh from His presence, you can’t bother me.
By Don Jacobsen