I never seem to expect it, but on some regular rhythm under the direction of the Spirit of God alone, it is brought back to my attention that most of the battles I have lost in trying to follow Jesus have been simply for a lack of margin.
Last night as the church gathered at Meg’s house, we read how Peter (yes, the one singled out by Jesus, sifted by Satan, worker of every miracle in the Book) could not believe he was being freed from jail by an angel. Really? Was he still lacking in faith by chapter 12 of Acts?
We talked about faith. I said that I thought of faith as the ability to see (perceive) God. It’s been the only way I have understood it that actually fits all the ways it is used in the Bible. So the “mustard seed” of faith is just that little bit of vision I have, that gives me just enough to go forward – Like when my car has been sitting out on a winter night and I am late for work, and I don’t have time to let the defroster do its work or do a nice clean scraping job, so scratch off just enough to peer out of my “freezer on wheels” and make my way down the road. Not the safest way to drive, but hey – this is Minnesota.
So here is where margin comes in: Protecting time to listen – to perceive God each day – It’s difficult for me. And every time I survive the trip down the road with a last minute scrape job it seems to prove that it’s enough to get by. In my saner moments, I have to recognize that my chances of hitting a parked car were greatly increased by doing this. So it is with my habit of diving into the day with the last minute scrape-job on the “windshield” I look through to see what God is doing in my life. Which brings me to the value of a garage…the one thing that could save me from going out to thaw my car a half an hour ahead of time.
A garage represents “margin”. It takes time and resources to build one – a gesture of value to whatever we put in it. When it comes to time with God – I would really rather just borrow someone else’s garage. All the books I have bought hoping that someone else’s view of God will help me figure out how to get through the day – the week ahead. Maybe we all hope pastors will do it for us with a great sermon – and if they don’t come through, there are a hundred others on the web with a pod cast for us.
To build a garage around my own time with God is work – and it costs me something. For those of us in Minnesota, it’s either build one, or spend a half an hour each frosty morning clearing your windshield. Maybe having that illustration of the importance of margin is why God saw to it I ended up living here. I need the reminder of the cost of not building a “garage” of time in the morning where I listen to the One who I need to direct my life. It is written, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14