You feel the night wind. The darkness folds around you. You look up through the leaves to the dark-blue sky and shining stars. You smell the dry sand and the fresh water and the flowers and the spicy desert plants. Every breath you draw is new, untainted. Living outdoors, by day and night, is the secret of my strength.”
“The person who forgets the ultimate is a slave to the immediate.”
Some of you are relatively new to the Daily Paines; some of you just delete it or say,”Oh, there he is again,” and there are some who read them. Whichever category you place yourself in, realize that you are in the process of wandering. One of the reasons I started writing the Paine was to get Christians to wonder and ponder.
Those who have been reading a while know that a common theme is wandering. Now, that can take many forms. There is wandering through life, wandering on a journey, wandering down the street. Surely you have found yourself at times on a spiritual journey, wandering. Remember, some wander with purpose, some wander aimlessly. Perhaps we can even wander aimlessly, but with purpose. Abraham was told to get up and wander, but to look for a land that God would show him.
Jesus wandered around the region of Galilee. He knew the hills and ravines quite well, as also the shoreline. Perhaps, before He began His ministry He wandered the region in a somewhat aimless manner, communing with His Father. Later in life He wandered the same region touching physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people. There were times when He was walking with purpose, yet allowed Himself to be interrupted by individuals with needs; people who were in their own way wandering as well.
In the world today I have the belief that much of our wandering is aimless and without real purpose. To be interrupted would bring a curse from the mouths of many. We are in a busy world and we run from one activity to another to another without regard to surroundings, without regard to others around us. Busyness becomes the aimless wandering of the mind and often the emotions.
One thing I want to do is slow down some and wander. It may be a walk in the woods with no place in particular in mind except to look at creation, listen to the wind rustling the leaves and then watching as one floats to the ground. To watch a hawk leave its perch and dive toward its prey or to watch a squirrel scamper up the side of a tree. Perhaps I would be distracted by a hummingbird buzz by as I walk. I also want to wander from the desk in my office or my easy-chair in front of the fire. I want to think thoughts, such as, “What was it like for the disciples to wander with Jesus?”
I like the words of Margaret Manning Shull: “The busyness is not what is useful nor is it what brings meaning, beauty, joy, or wonder to living. Creating space for wandering in the crowded days and weeks of our lives allows our thoughts to roam toward new priorities and paths, toward encounters along the road that surprise and nourish the soul, like the disciples who walked unknowingly with the risen Jesus. Wandering–whether that involves the purposeless walking…being distracted by beauty in the person right in front of us or in the natural world, or the intentional withdrawal into silence, stillness, and prayer–is itself a purposeful work.”
“Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.”
–Philippians 3:12-14 (Phillips)