I spent my childhood on a small farm. It was a wonderful place to live. A wide pasture surrounded my home (like a "C" with the house in the middle) . Below the pasture was a slow meandering creek, and past the creek was a mountain.
The creek was the natural border between the pasture and the trees at the base of the mountain. At the base of this mountain was a flat wooded area.
In one part of this wooded area was a place where several kinds of moss grew. It covered the ground in a thick, green, soft, spongy blanket. It gave a "spring" to your step as you walked on it. I called this place the Moss Garden.
I spent lot of time in the woods. It is the best place to be alone with God, to pray, and to enjoy the beauty of nature. These times made such an impact on my life that even today, when I need to spend time in prayer, my mind goes to the woods, and if at all possible, I find trees somewhere and get out in the middle of them. Some may say it is a conditioned response. That is OK, because I find great comfort there.
I also spent a lot of time in the Moss Garden. Many times, I would go there, lay down on the soft moss, and look up at the tops of the trees. I was always intrigued at how everyday things (like even the trees) can look very different when you change your perspective.
I discovered something else too. Something I have never forgotten. Something that made a great impression on my life, even at a young age.
After I had been there for a while, laying down, changing my perspective, I would begin to hear sounds I had not heard before. These sounds had been there all along, but I had not been in a position to hear them or to allow them to cross the threshold of my attention.
It would take about twenty to thirty minutes for my mind to "shift gears", quiet down, and become acclimated to my surroundings and my "new perspective".
Have you ever heard a gentle summer breeze? Not felt it, but heard it?
It would begin high on the mountaintop. There would be a subtle faint sound of leaves in the treetops far away beginning to rustle.
Then, as a gently flowing stream, the sound would work its way down the mountain, ever so slowly, to the tops of the trees above me.
From my perspective on the ground looking up, I could see the leaves in the very top of the trees begin to tremble, then to rustle, then to wave, almost as with joy, in the fullness of the breeze. Only after this would I begin to feel the breeze.
The very tops of the trees would begin to sway back and forth in a slow graceful dance, as if they were rejoicing and saying, "It's here! It's here! Everyone enjoy!"
Then, as gently as it came, it would move on.
The leaves would stop rustling. Then, the trees would come back to their tall silent stance of attention, waiting patiently for their next opportunity to say "It's here!".
How like the Holy Spirit! He comes so gently, so quietly. One could easily miss Him, hurried and pressured by the demands of life and a perspective that doesn't allow the more subtle signs of His presence to be noticed or His quiet gentle voice to be heard over the din of "life".
Today, the Moss Garden is gone. The area is overgrown. But the lessons I learned as a child in that wonderful place still remain. They remind me at times to stop and take time to listen.
I urge you to take time to listen too. Take time to change your perspective. Get away, somewhere - anywhere - out of your ordinary routine and setting, and just be quiet for a while. Fight the urge to "do something". Just be quiet. Sit. Listen.
You may find that, after a while, your mind will "shift gears" and you will begin to notice things you hadn't noticed before. You may hear the sounds of a gentle breeze, God's breeze, begin to move toward you. Then, you may feel the wonderful refreshing of His Spirit blow in places You had forgotten were there.
And like those trees, you too may want to exclaim, "He's here! He's here!"
What you see and hear in that "place" may surprise you.
When you get there, you will find that He is already there. He has been there all along, waiting patiently, to spend time with you.
G. Randall Vaughn