“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place.” Psalm 118:5
Does that verse fell like the most refreshing breeze on your weary face? Does it feel like a gentle whisper to your bleeding ears? Like a quiet exit ramp off the jammed highway? Take a deep breath, close your eyes, picture your favorite “spacious place,” and then speak these words aloud: “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place.”
In his absolute treasure of a book entitled “Celebration of Discipline,” Richard Foster says this; “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: NOISE, HURRY, and CROWDS.” Think about that. It isn’t horrible temptations, or sneaky aerial attacks that are most effective in derailing our walks with Jesus. Our enemy uses NOISE, HURRY, and CROWDS like very little else to render us incapacitated at the worst, and ineffective in the least as we purse a walk worthy of our calling (1 Thessalonians 1:11). All of that noise, that hurry, and those crowds leave me feeling hard pressed much of the time. I find that the noise of the world, sometimes of even my own home, becomes so loud that it is hard to hear the still small voice of the Spirit in my days. The hurry becomes crippling at times, the agendas, the to-do’s, the schedules. The urgent is a ruthless task-master, and when you turn your life over to him, he doesn’t let go. And the crowds… I don’t know what it is like at your house, but though we live on close to 7 acres, I am literally never in a space alone. I cannot take a step around here without tripping over a dog, cat, chicken, or child. They are all blessings but sometimes I just need a bit of space. Anyone else?
So today, as you sit with the breath of fresh air that Psalm 118:5 is, I pray that you find a little space and silence to ask yourself three questions.
FIRST, what has you feeling “hard pressed” right now? What situations or relationships have you feeling distressed? As you serve those that the Lord has brought into your life, where is it especially hard right now? As you live your life and pursue Jesus and gospel community, where does it feel especially crowded? Do you feel hard pressed by your past? Your parents? Your children? Expectations and obligations? Are your own dreams or perhaps hopes deferred or disappointments pressing hard on your spirit? There are times we feel an over-all pressure, hard pressed on all sides, but in the quiet you may be able to identify a particular stone in your shoe.
SECOND, what do you need space from? Sometimes we even need space from the good things, the ministry we love, the people we love. I know that, at times, I need space from the daily grind of my life though that very grind involves everything dear to me. I need space from the hurry, from the tyranny of the urgent, from meeting needs every moment of the day. What are the things that, absent in the silence, allow you to feel more spacious in your spirt? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a why… Are you taking on more than you should, physically, emotionally, spiritually? Is there a load that you are carrying that you need to surrender? Are you bearing some blessings as burdens and simply need a new filter?
THIRD, what do you need space for? What does Jesus want to do for you in that spacious place? Does He need to deal with a place of sin in your heart that up until now you have been able to drown out with the distractions of all the noise, hurry, and crowds? Does He want to release you from some of those “hard pressed” places, or maybe He desires to encourage you in them. Does He long to give you a new perspective as you look at that daily grind, those urgent needs, that agenda? Maybe you just need space and silence to be able to hear His voice saying, “I love you. Well done. I am please. Rest.” Richard Foster says in Celebration of Discipline, “Detachment is not enough [space from]; we must go on to attachment. The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God.”
Don’t let the pulse of the noise, hurry, and crowds steal the spacious places your Heavenly Father has for your spirit. Don’t let the “out there” get “in here.” He wants to meet with you there. He wants you to be free (Galatians 5:1), not hard pressed. He wants you to know His peace (Philippians 4:7), not the world’s noise. He wants you to be still (Psalm 46:10), not hurried. He wants time with you away from the crowds (Matthew 6:6).
I leave you with this reminder and blessing today as you fight the noise, hurry, and crowds of the enemy: “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” (Psalms 18:19). He delights in you as well. Stretch out in that spacious place. Roll around in it. Feel it like a breeze on your face, like soft grass on your toes. Delight in Him there in that space. Take it with you when you go.