I think most of us unconsciously divide things up between sacred and secular, Christian and non, holy and worldly, Church time and workday, things God cares about and things we think He has no use for - and we often fail to really enjoy or appreciate any of it.
In the midst of this splintering and disconnection a few quiet, persistent voices are calling us to wholeness.
They're fellow pilgrims, and they're simply sharing their experiences of Jesus.
Timothy Willard is one of those voices. *
Last Spring, I read the book he co-wrote with Jason Locy, Home Behind the Sun. It was a glimpse into the minds of two men striving to recognize Christ at the heart of everything.
All their experiences were downright earthy- apologizing to your wife after bitter words were spoken, hiking in a wood filled with mist, repairing the family car while your tiny daughters look on.
Yet Tim and Jason brought everything- from deep sorrow and hard trials to the pleasure of home and the steady love found there- back to resolution in Christ.
After I finished the book, I gave it to my 60 year old father, who read it twice in a row.
Their words resonated with a working man who wants to have a stable faith.
I was delighted (see Home Behind the Sun, chapter ten for a definition of delight) to think that I could now share this new book with my Dad too. Longing for More is a devotional, which usually doesn't go over well with me. I always end up reading it like a normal book, in big pieces. The entries here give you enough to think about that one a day would be just fine, but if you want to read more I won't try to dissuade you.
There are 52 different themes, one for each week, and five smaller readings within each. The themes include Unity, Silence, Imagination, Trust, Gentleness, Surrender, Holy, Confession, Disappointment and Kindness.
Timothy keeps his eyes, heart, and hands open to receive God within the routines of life.
I think that any God-seeker would connect with this book. I can imagine a young college student or a elderly person being challenged and refreshed by it.
Here are a few snippets to give you a taste of his writing.
"How like the Pin Oak am I? Clinging to the old season until shaken by the Wind of God, thrashing me toward His glory. We must, throughout life, embrace the storm of Christ. All of us live forever in a state of release and reaching- shedding the brittle-brown within us, clothing our bones in God's finest: the way everlasting."
"That is who I want to be: the devoted farmer of the spiritual and heavenly, allowing my love for you to grow in the cool soil, compelled to climb into the air by the warmth of your brilliance."
"I love knowing that God Almighty possesses me. This truth comforts me, it encourages me, it fuels my ideas and creative agency. I feel a sense of pre-accomplishment, like I can do anything because, regardless of the outcome, God possesses me. What peace!"
"The new day does not promise to deliver me from my trial or my failings. It acts as the refresher: another day to decide to love, another day to decide to surrender."
"In an increasingly fragmented world, let us allow faith to draw us close to one another. Let us struggle, together, and learn of God's glory through the mending cracks of our toil."
"Serving engenders gentleness, for it is a genteel posture. I subvert my own pride, which flares into rough action, gruff talking, and coarse thinking."
"We sing and hold hands, pray and cry with those we love. For what are we if not givers of love... daily for those we hold dear?"
"In all its glory and infamy, today will turn to tomorrow and can do nothing to stop the churning. It wastes us at our core, and yet we do not lose heart. For the God of time guides us into eternity- the timeless place of ceaseless glory and grace."
"What can we compare to everlasting? Certainly the heavens come close. The age of the stars, and their light, feels ancient and new. They are like a newborn child, at once a picture of innocence, freshness, and beginnings, and also representing the history of life itself- ancient and enduring."
I thank Bethany House for providing me with a review copy.
Timothy Willard uses words like a poet.
* Other such voices include Leigh McLeroy, author of The Beautiful Ache, Sharon Jaynes- A Sudden Glory, Ann Voskamp- 1,000 Gifts, Matt Heard- Life with a Capital L, and Michael Yankoski- The Sacred Year.