Stories from the Cleft-2: The Risk-Reward Factor!

Welcome to the second installment of Stories from the Cleft. Please pull up a chair. Hope you have an appetite for another taste treat and nourishment for running the good race!

If you care to look back to where we began just last week, and see the context for these stories as well, please check out Real Faith Being Refined in The Training Table Archives section of Feast of the Heart.

Please be sure to recall the very important Bible passage from Exodus 33:18-23 that inspires this series of stories.

The Risk-Reward Factor: Go Deeper… To Raise God and Others Up!
Recall, we left off last week by my walking only several feet from the wonderful time with CeCe to the next, blessed encounter.

I sat down, to get trimmed up, by Eugenia. Now, Eugenia is the third woman from Russia in the same establishment who has cut my hair. I thoroughly enjoy the cross-cultural conversations and Eugenia’s very friendly and humble sense of humor in making the very best effort to translate American idioms and odd parlances into something she can get her mind around. She does a very good job!

She is now a good friend; we like to share stories, our family going’s-on, just plan old things about everyday life. Sometimes we stay at the surface of life, sometimes we go deeper… It’s all good.

“So, how’s the family, Eugenia”, I asked.
“It’s good. We’re good. Busy… always so busy”, Eugenia answered… busily.

“Just plain busy, huh? Like GOOD busy?” as I queried—like a fisherman tosses a line to see what’s hanging out in the deeper waters.

“Good busy? What’s that mean… ‘Good busy’? I don’t know what’s that? It’s like Sasha (their daughter) as example. She’s got so much going on! This practice, that practice, this rehearsal for one thing… then another… She never stops. But it’s good. It’s good to be busy, right? She never stops… she’s not so happy when she’s bored.”

“Hmmm… So, when does Sasha rehearse being quiet, Eugenia?” as I waited patiently and hopefully… to see how God’s glory might pass by in this conversation.

“What’s that, John? ‘Rehearsing being quiet’? I don’t understand… ‘being quiet’.”

“Well” I said, “Everyone, every day, all over the world is running, running, running… faster and faster… more and more BUSY all the time. Do you think that Sasha might be so busy that she has no time to be quiet… to have some times of peace… of silence… of just enjoying Sasha being Sasha. Just being content to have NOTHING to do, Eugenia? Does Sasha get nervous or anxious when she is bored?”

[A brief yet noteworthy pause interrupted our conversation.]

“You know, John, I never think of that. This is the first time… And you know something too? I don’t like being bored either. I feel guilty when I’m not doing anything… I think Sasha and me are the same this way…”

“Yes, that’s very likely, Eugenia. Do you think it might be good to consider ‘rehearsing our quiet time’ more? Being at peace… with peace?” as I gently pushed open a door… to Go Deeper… To Raise God and Others Up…

Eugenia ended by saying, “You know something? I’m really thinking about this thing! Oh my God… You know, I do believe it’s very important to be okay with being quiet. With just being… like just hanging out… I do feel guilty… I don’t know why. But this is very important… I think so… Thank you so much. I’m so glad we talked about this… And you know something? Ernesto (the hair stylist next to Eugenia) just asked me about this last week! This is strange thing…”

“Let’s talk some more, Eugenia.” I said. “If you need some ideas or encouragement, I’m always happy to talk… Would it be okay if I told others this story too?”

“Sure. Yes that’s fine. If it would help someone, that’s good. I think so many people have the same problem, right? We are all so busy… Too busy maybe… Maybe my story would help others too!”

As I walked out the door and into the frigid air outside, I breathed deep… I shuddered as the Spirit touched my heart, “Thank you, Lord! Thank You for letting me see Your glory pass by. Praise God… That was awesome!”
Praying to See God’s Glory: A Partnership of Seek and Follow!
1. In the Bible, “the glory of God” is usually some visible manifestation of God’s presence and of His splendor. For Moses, the sight of God’s glory would serve as an assurance to him of God presence with him. For us, it is the same thing except for one very big difference: As Matthew Henry put it, “In the cleft, the rock in Horeb was typical of Christ the Rock; the Rock of refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock. The cleft may be an emblem of Christ, as smitten, crucified, wounded, and slain.” God in Christ is as the cleft of rescue, provision, protection, and praise for those who have placed their faith in Him.

2. In this life, God’s providential, heart-to-heart, infinite yet intimate REDEMPTIVE PLAN includes an intergalactic, multi-dimensional battle AS WELL AS virtually everyone we meet. RE: every one. Remember, over time, we should find ourselves saying things like, “Fortunately”, “As luck would have it”, “What a coincidence!”, “It just so happened”… less and less. And, as our faith and experiences of God’s glory thoroughly convince us that there are NO chance occurrences anywhere in the entirety of God’s grand universe, we can say, “Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!” (Psalm 1; John 9:1-7; James 1:2-3, 17, lots more)

3. More to follow…

I treasure, as one might anticipate opening the gift of a lifetime, how God is going to bless my request each morning… that I might see His glory pass by! God will supply the circumstances—on that promise of God, I can rest assured. May He also give me the faith and thankful obedience to do my part!

Next week, “Stories from the Cleft: Fellowship, the Fire Circle of Life”.

May God bless you and yours in every way,

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