Knock-Knock. Who’s There?

With it being Holy Week, Christian’s world wide are preparing their hearts for communion, and getting ready to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. In this time of isolation and uncertainty there has never been a more poignant Easter celebration in my lifetime.

I have been reflecting on my salvation, what it looks like to love and follow Jesus, trying to find a way to minister to those in need, and even trying to reconcile myself as a pastor who can’t see his church. Knock-knock.

For the past two weeks, sleep has evaded me. And when it comes, it’s erratic and fleeting. But I wake up everyday with the energy, if not the usual enthusiasm, to face the day. It’s not fear that keeps me awake. It’s not worry that wakes me up at 3am. Knock-knock.

I have never been a great sleeper, but this is far beyond what I normally experience. There is more to my sleeplessness than a racing mind and contemplation. Knock-knock.

God has been knocking on my heart every night. Stirring me to prayer for my family, my church and the world. God is asking to come into my home (my heart) daily to commune with me, and for me to rest in his presence.

Revelation 3:20 NLT

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

So many times this passage is used as part of a salvation invitation, and yes, Jesus is kicking on your hearts door, and yes he wants nothing more than for his children to come home. But we must remember, this passage was not written to unbelievers, but to the church in Laodicea. It’s an invitation to the church to open their hearts and commune with God.

So why does God knock?

For most of us right now, our lives are turned upside down. We are working at home. Our kids are having school at home. Right now, I am having trouble typing because our cat Luke keeps laying on my keyboard. Life has filled up with new routines, new distractions and new fears.  God knows that our human heart is easily distracted and that the busyness of our everyday can make this time with God (the most important part of our day) seem like a distraction in itself. I can’t help but think of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).

Luke 10:41-42 NLT

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Martha invited him in to her home (heart), but was to busy to enjoy what really matters, Jesus’ presence. Mary had discovered it, taking the time to sit at Jesus’ feet. We have to create the space in our lives, no matter what else is going on around us, to let God not only commune with us, but to act as well.

Philip Yancey wrote,

“God, who mad space in the most literal sense in the universe, needs us to protect a God-space, to prevent our lives from filling up with other things” (Yancey, Zondervan, 2006)

While we shelter in place, we must remember to shelter with Jesus.

Why does this “God-space” matter so much to God. Why would the creator of the universe and author of life knock on our hearts, desire to commune with us – the creation – broken, fractured and misguided. Simply put, because we matter in ways to God that we will never fathom.

Easter is here, it should serve as a reminder of how much you matter to God. That he sent his son, Jesus, to die for your sins, and resurrected him in glory to redeem your life to him. That is how much you matter.

It’s God’s invitation, but we must answer the door.

Knock-knock.

Self-Care in the Time of Corona

This week is Masters Week. The week the golfing world descends on Augusta National Golf Club to witness the most captivating and beloved golf tournament of the year. Even if you don’t like golf, or watch golf, chances are you just might sneak a peek at a television broadcast this week. Magnolia Lane. The azaleas. Ray’s Creek. Amen Corner. Pimento cheese sandwiches. All the things that make The Masters experience what it is…the greatest week in golf.

But in 2020, amidst COVID-19, amidst stay at home orders…golf has been ruled non-essential. I’ve been home for three weeks now, working and trying to keep the walls from closing in on me. This week, honestly, is a kick in the gut. Masters week is a celebration in our home, we all partake. But this year, it’s a teardrop in the middle of an ocean of tears.

Five weeks ago, we lost our cat, Mags. Mags had been with me for going on 14 years. Than the social distancing order came. Than in the middle of The Players tournament (another Goedert household favorite), the announcement that The Masters would be postponed came. Than baseball opening day was gone. All these things are family favorites and traditions…gone. It started to feel like there was no time to recover from the body shots. Yesterday, was rough. A lot of shouting matches with the kid, irritability, and just feeling like an absolute failure at life, parenting, and ready to sleep through the rest of this pandemic.

As I was praying this morning, admittedly feeling sorry for myself, God directed me to the book of John. This is what I read:

John 10:10 NLT

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”

Satan doesn’t just want to destroy us spiritually, but wants to take away the love we have for our everyday lives as well. Satan wants to take away joy, love, togetherness and make you feel alone and hopeless. We know this. I know this. But it is still easy to let everything in life, especially right now, drag you down and rob the light and hope from your life.

Self-care, or self-love right now means letting Jesus bring life into your life, even where things may seem dead, to let the fullness of who Jesus is to us, guide us to find ways to life life to our fullest. That means letting the creative spark God placed in you take new root and start new growth.

I have decided to make our home a fortress of hope and love. We will not let the darkness of the current state of the world dim our light. We will love, we will hug each other, we will laugh and make memories. We will remain strong in the love of God and the hope that Jesus has given us. As my son reminded me the other day, “Goederts don’t give up.” We will live life to it’s fullest.

It’s Masters week. Today, we will watch the Arnie documentary on Golf Channel while enjoying some of his signature tea and lemonade. Tomorrow, we will watch The Greatest Game Ever Played, one of my favorite golf movies. Wednesday, we will play Tiger Woods Golf: The Masters and have a par 3 tournament, Thursday – Sunday, my son and and I will start a four round video game version of The Masters. Sunday, we will watch last years final round, enjoying pimento cheese sandwiches, chips and Azaeleas.

Make the decision for yourself, for your family, that we will all take time for the life-giving things that we can still do. Breath love, hope into your home, your children, and your spouse.

We have but two choices: we can allow the overwhelming state of the world invade our hearts and homes, or we can choose to infuse our lives, and those around us with hope, love and life.

Don’t let the thief steal your joy, kill your hope, and destroy your love. Instead, let Jesus give life to your joy, and make full your hope and love.

This week will be one of life and smiles, after all, it’s Masters week.