I sat ensconced in a cocoon of solitude. Though the concrete walls on two sides nearly touched my shoulders, the nook was mine - a haven.
Seclusion came at a high price with three small children in our home in Warsaw, Poland. Larry graciously fed them breakfast in this season of our lives so that I could be alone with Jesus. Morning after morning I would come to my sanctuary to meet with the Lord. The effort was worth it; He always met me.
On this dismal fall day, I gazed out the window. A thick morning fog hung heavily in the air; the trees had no leaves. Coal pollution poured from smoking chimneys. Across the street, the neighbor’s house stood under construction. Indeed, a lifeless gray colored everything.
I needed these moments, and I needed the steaming, rich brown coffee served in my favorite mug.
Life felt like a runaway express train, with my husband as the conductor. At this warped speed, I felt vulnerable as waves of reality rolled over me.
Shoving aside challenges of a clandestine pioneering ministry, shutting out Communist propaganda, and slamming the door on the voice of the enemy of my soul, I came to my Only Source of Strength.
Lord, I need something to lift me out of the miry clay. (I pictured a childhood situation when I walked too near a river with quicksand, and became frightfully stuck. Fortunately, strong arms came to my rescue, and lifted me up and of danger.) I needed Strong Arms this morning to lift me out of life’s miry clay.
Opening my Bible to the next portion of Scripture in my ongoing plan, I read Daniel 4:34:
I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my sanity was restored. What? I read and reread the verse: I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my sanity was restored.
As spiritual reality slowly sank in, I nearly shouted. "That's it!" Incredulous, I devoured the words crafting this statement of high impact.
God's Message was clear. Look at Me - not at the nasty street, not at the crummy weather, not at your lack of sleep, not at the Communists, not at the distance from family, not at the needs of the little ones you so love, not at your husband’s daunting schedule. No, Look at Me.
Sitting in my sanctuary - in a brown wooden chair, at a brown wooden desk - a radical transformation occurred. "God, I choose to believe! If this worked for Nebuchadnezzar, this will work for me.” Choosing to look up, my faith focus shifted from my temporal circumstances to my eternal resources.
In that moment...I changed.
The change proved genuine. My circumstances remained challenging. The needs of my family only escalated. And life's speed still raced at full throttle. Yet, I experienced ongoing victory from being controlled by my circumstances and pushed around by my problems.
Yes, on a cold Communist morning, God highlighted one verse with His Holy Illumination: I lifted my eyes to heaven and my sanity was restored. In my concrete cubicle, I learned a lesson for life:
To look down is to be discouraged.
To look around is to be disappointed.
To look within is to be disillusioned.
To look up is to see Him!
Living with Eternal Intentionality: What do you learn from the lesson of Nebuchadnezzar?