Being With God

Mar 8, 2001
by Margaret Underwood

Genesis 21:22 – God is with you in all that you do. (RSV)

One of the household chores that I avoid doing as long as possible is the ironing. Not that I mind doing it, actually it's just that the idea of it seems so confining. It's not nearly as interesting as some other projects I have on my personal agenda.

When I was a young girl, my mother did most of the ironing on Tuesdays. Monday was always wash day, and we had a wringer washer and big tubs for rinsing. The sudsy water was recycled and used first for light colours, then medium, and finally the dark clothes. We never did wash on another day. Life was simple then. But now my washer goes almost every day and the ironing seems to be always waiting for me.

The funny thing is that when I do iron, it becomes a blessing. As I press out the wrinkles in cottons, perma-press shirts and linens, I find I am ironing out the wrinkles on my brow. Answers to things that have been a trouble to me seem to come to my mind as I iron. There's something about the quietness of the moment and the simplicity of the task that causes me to free up. Not only does the project become therapeutic, it becomes almost holy. I sense the Lord's presence, and hear His still, small voice. The pieces of my puzzle begin to come together to complete the picture of the problem I am working on in my mind.

There was a saint in the church who found much solace and joy in the presence of the Lord as he worked in the kitchen and washed the pots and pans. His name was Brother Lawrence. He is known for his work, The Practice of the Presence of God. He had an ongoing relationship with his Lord that was not dependent upon his being on his knees or sitting in his chair reading God's word. Oh, there were times for that; but the Lord's presence was with him every day, all day long.

Another holy person who "walked with God" is only mentioned briefly in the Bible. His name was Enoch. The Bible says that he did not die, but that "he was not". (Genesis 5:24 RSV). Although a seemingly insignificant person by today's standards and mega-ministries, it is believed that Enoch was simply taken up into heaven. He walked with God, like Adam did before the fall.

Most of us are everyday people, doing everyday chores and work. Not all are preachers or in special ministries. Have we overlooked the value of the mundane work we are called to do, even though it allows us to have a certain freedom to hear from God? We can "practice the presence of God" if we practice being like Jesus who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38 RSV). Perhaps the world needs to see the Gospel according to you and me — even when we find ourselves washing the dishes and ironing the shirts!

Prayer: Help us, O Father, to be content with our lives and to be happy in knowing Your presence with us in everything we do. Bless our hearts, our hands and our minds, as we set about our daily work in Your name, and help us to hear what you are saying to us. Amen.

About the author:

Margaret Underwood
Titusville, Florida, USA

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