You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Have you noticed that there do not seem to be as many birds about as there were in the last few months? Where have they all gone to? After all the fuss and bother of mating, laying eggs and feeding the newly hatched offspring, it is time for them to take a rest before getting down to the business of stocking up on food for the coming winter months.
In a similar way at this time of year many of us will be taking a well earned holiday, a break from our everyday work. Perhaps we will visit friends or relatives, or take a trip to a favourite place, whilst the more adventurous may venture further afield. In any case, it’s all a welcome respite from the daily routine.
Can we take a break from this ‘God bothering’ stuff, too? No! Since God is with us, and within us we cannot leave God at the airport check-in desk, to pick Him up in the Arrivals lounge on our return. God is coming with us, wherever we go! In fact, God invites us to step aside from the busyness of our daily life precisely so that He can make himself known to us. Rest from the daily grind is essential, but just as important is spending time recharging our spiritual batteries. So, will we spend the boring flight reading a trashy novel from the airport bookstall? Why not download one of the countless Bible Apps to our mobile phone to read? Much more edifying! Anyway, when was the last time you really spent time reading the Bible? Remember listening to God through Scripture will transform our lives. And why not use some of the time spent lazing on the beach as an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God? How can we deepen it? Again, with all the night life at the resort there may seem to be no time for prayer. Yet, the simplest prayer is to say thank you God, and there will be so many reasons to express our gratitude to Him; maybe for meeting new people, renewing old acquaintances or perhaps just the fact that the daily pressures are not there. There is always a reason to offer a prayer of gratitude.
Some will not able to get away from home this year. Yet just looking out of the back window to see the neighbour’s cat stalking across the yard after the birds, listen to the kids playing in the street, the sun shining on the pot plants, perhaps the sound of the air conditioning unit keeping our neighbour cool, even here we can offer a prayer of gratitude.
In our pursuit for rest and recuperation we must never forget our time for prayer and reflection. Gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s gifts will surely be the most significant prayers at this time.
Oh, and keep an eye out for the birds as they return to the task of refuelling for winter.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years