October 5, 2007
Jesus on the Blank Screen
By Karen Ehman
“My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NIV)
I pulled into the parking lot of our local fitness center with my usual grumpy attitude. You see, I hate to exercise. Oh, I love the way I feel when I’m done. I am thankful that God used it to help me drop several unwanted pounds and that performing it several times a week helps me to keep those pounds from creeping back on. But I still dread it every time. Thankfully, the center I work out at has flat screens with cable television hooked to the various treadmills, bikes and ellipticals. Clients can view them to help pass the time. Since we do not have cable at our home—you heard me right, we are old fashioned “rabbit ear” folks—I get to enjoy a cable news show while I sweat. That is if I remember to bring my own headphones. This particular day, I did not.
Sighing audibly, I stepped onto the treadmill. It was hard enough to get myself going when I could distract myself with Fox News for a while. How ever was I going to exercise for 45 minutes or more staring at a blank screen? That would be sheer torture. I’d get bored. Worse yet, I’d think of twenty-nine things I needed to accomplish and then have no sticky notes to jot them down on! I’d see the other people smiling and enjoying their programs while I got to look at a blank, flat piece of nothingness.
Then God brought to mind an area He had been nudging me in; prayer. By prayer I don’t mean whipping out my list of jotted prayer requests scribbled on last week’s church bulletin and covering them all quickly before my head hits the pillow at night. I don’t mean going mentally through my family members by name with the usual “bless em’ real good, Lord” request. I don’t even mean reciting verses to God in an attitude of prayer, although that is a wonderful thing to do! I mean spending honest, focused, unhurried time just conversing with God about whatever is on my mind or on His! Perhaps my oversight in bringing my ear phones could be the beginning of something good.
So for the better part of an hour I imagined that Jesus was on the blank screen in front of me. He had my full attention. And I had His. I tried to focus my mind on Him, what He was teaching me and what things I still needed so desperately from Him. In my mind I conversed with Him as with a dear friend. I’d pour out my thoughts. I’d share my concerns. I’d bring situations to His attention that needed His intervention. I’d ask Him to reveal to me wrong attitudes and actions. I’d ask Him how I needed to change to be a more accurate reflection of Him. Why, I’d even ramble at times. All the while I’d picture Him patiently there, listening and caring. I knew that time spent with Him would benefit me more than an hour of catching up on what was going on in the world.
Now often I go to the workout center without my headphones on purpose. When I feel I need more one on one time connecting with God beyond what I usually try to include in my day, I can rest assured that He is waiting for me on that flat screen. I don’t even care if people next to me wonder what I am staring at and why my lips sometimes move. You see, I’m forgetting my exercise woes and focusing on my Lord. Almost makes me want to work out!
Dear Lord, help me to seize opportunities in my day which normally would be idly spent to focus instead on You. I know you are always waiting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer by Cheri Fuller
He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer
On Sunday evenings consider about your schedule for the upcoming week. Look it over and locate pockets of white space where you spend time waiting; at the doctor’s office, in the carpool line, at your children’s piano lessons, etc… Are there time slots you could use to connect with God rather than simply waiting or being bored? Commit to use at least one of these times this week to converse with your Creator.
What areas of your life is God currently nudging you in? Need more patience? Less critical words? More honesty? More compassion? Locate several verses that speak to these topics. Copy them on index cards and carry them with you in your purse or bag. Whip them out when you have down time. Try to memorize at least one verse per week during these normally idle times and pray for changes to result from implementing these verses.
Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)
2 Chronicles 7:14 “….if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 05 October 2007.