I am in the hills of Ohio ministering and enjoying the beauty of nature. Out front where I drink an early morning coffee I see the rolling hills and the forest into which is nestled a few homes that in the summer cannot be seen because of the trees. It is certainly a beautiful area and one that I never tire of seeing and experiencing. Early in the morning the coffee is hot, smells great, tastes even better. The birds are all out singing and the squirrels and wild turkeys are scurrying about finding their morning meal. Did I mention the flowers?
Most people are still asleep. And, this is good. I am looking for quiet during an early start of the day to reflect about life and ministry. I am looking for solitude to contemplate, read, and journal about the life journey that I am on. I am looking to grasp a wider Kingdom perspective as I sit, relax, enjoy the sights and sounds… uninterrupted by other humans for a few brief moments.
It is here that I recharge. I sense God’s presence in a very real and tangible way. I experience His peace in both my head and my heart. My head is the hardest because my mind is always thinking, analyzing, and sorting. I sense and experience His power as I pray through some things that are fresh on my heart and need my attention today as I attend meetings and spend time with my host who leads the church here that I work with.
Being outside and alone in nature is refreshing. It is a time of solitude when I can connect with the Creator in ways that are not as easy when the weather is colder and the sun rises later in the morning and sets before the evening meal. The early sunrises and late sunsets allow for more time to connect with the God whom we worship and serve. Please note that I said that I am using the time to connect and not reconnect. This is because a believer should never disconnect in their relationship with the Lord and Giver of life. Thus if we don’t disconnect then we don’t have the need to reconnect. But we can always go deeper in our relational connection.
I use the summer to spend extra time in the early morning when the sun is rising and in the early evening when the sun is setting – time to spend deepening my relationship with the Lord. This means taking time to be still and know that He is truly God as the Psalmist stated so long ago. This means making sure I guard this time to be alone with Him – solitude. After all, even Jesus frequently went away by Himself to spend time in fellowship with the Father. It means being silent in His presence allowing Him to speak to me in my spirit. In this way I am sharpening my listening skills and taking the time to really hear Him speak to me about me and about us – His relationship with me.
And, in these special times in this slower season it is good to grow in my fellowship with the Holy Spirit as He is the One who is here to guide and direct me in all aspects of my life and ministry (2 Corinthians 13:14). So, I spend time focusing on my relationship with Him as I learn to be more sensitive to His voice, His leading, and His guidance in my life.
Early morning coffee – and an evening watching the sun set as I drink a mid-evening cup of decaf – during the slower summer season. A real blessing that we can all take advantage of and be thankful for.