Why are rhythms so important? Why do we practice spiritual disciplines? What’s the point in fasting and feasting or in prayer and Sabbath? Why do we need them? Let me tell you.
I love water. Any kind of water. The sea, the ocean, a lake, a pond, all types of water are calming to me. I feel centered. Close to God. Calm. Even at the beach. This summer was so different, wasn’t it? Where I live there isn’t much opportunity to go to a beach. You have to want to, and it requires quite a drive. The nearest ones were closed all summer, but twice we took a little drive and went to a beach.
Because it’s 2020 and we don’t have to pretend to be cool and we have nostalgia for the beach, my 12 year old and I even bought some beach toys. We got there, laid out our towels, and began to build a sand castle. My favorite part, I have to admit, is the moat. I don’t know why, but I love the idea of a moat. Of the water encircling the castle and protecting the princess. Of being able to pull up the bridge on unsuspecting dangers.
When you’re building a sandcastle, the water for the moat usually comes last. You work on the castle, creating the layout, and then you begin to build this protective barrier. By the time the kiddos start to walk over, full buckets in hand, you’re ready for them to start filling it. And so it comes. It’s beautiful to me, honestly. A bucket of water is poured onto the already soft sand. It doesn’t waver, it doesn’t fall, it doesn’t spill over here and there. Why? Because it’s ready. Because while my daughter was building her castle I was methodically digging and shaping and creating this place where water would flow. I didn’t know exactly how, and I didn’t know exactly when, but I knew that the water would come. I knew that there would be a time when I could watch her pour out bucket after bucket into my molded and shaped sand, and it would hold. It would hold because I prepared that place.
That’s how it is with our disciplines. We repeat our prayers and our Sabbath days over and over. We ready ourselves for the work of the Holy Spirit. We dig and shape and mold and prepare. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is going to work. The Spirit will work but we don’t know when. We don’t know when or how or sometimes even why. But, the work will come. And we need to be ready.
So that’s why I love rhythms. It’s why I cherish moments of solitude. It’s why prayer, in all it’s forms, is important to me. I want to be ready. I want to be able to see God at work. I want to find where God is working and join Him. Every moment we spend in daily rhythms, in disciplines, and in observance are moments when we are readying ourselves for the times when we will have to do the real work. Readying ourselves for when things happen, good and bad, where we need the help and workings of the Spirit. The Spirit will flow and fill us and began to take its place; and there will be a space already cut out, prepared, for such a time as this.