When I was in the police there were a few public areas where there were signs up that said NO LOITERING. Part of my job that I never really enjoyed was to move on large groups of mainly teenagers who would hang around in these open areas.
Recently I have noticed somewhere which in contrast to those areas in Paisley I had to police, positively encourages people to loiter and linger. Its the Word of God, especially the Psalms. Just listen to these invitations to loiter in God’s presence through reading God’s Word.
- Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. Psalm 107:43
- Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2
- I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’ Psalm 77:12
- Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, Psalm 105:5
These Psalms invite us as God’s people to linger in God’s presence. These verses are about slowing down and taking the time to think, reflect and meditate on who He is and what He has done. I know that I am spiritually healthier when I have loitered in God’s presence, I am more grateful, I am more filled with awe, I find it easier to pour out my heart in praise.
Yet most days the truth is that I should linger longer in God’s presence. The challenge is that it always feels like there is so much to be done that I have this faint feeling that I am wasting time just lingering in the presence of God and pondering His work in my life and in this world. There are so many things to be organised, so many jobs to be done, emails to written. All of that busy stuff takes on the role I had as a police officer and tells me not to loiter and to get moving.
I think the Holy Spirit is reminding me in these verses above and so many others that time spent in God’s presence is never wasted time. We are emerging out of lockdown right now, activities are restarting, the pace of life is picking up. There is the danger that we just jump into the deep end of frantic activity. The Psalms remind us that there is a time to slow down, a time to linger, a time to loiter and just “be” in the presence of our Saviour.
I am wondering if I should perhaps put a little note in my bible that says LOITER LONGER ?
All of this reminds me of a worship song we sang about a decade ago
To rest in your presence
Not rushing away
To cherish each moment
Here i would stay
This is my desire, o Lord
This is my desire…
Rather than just singing those words I am going to try and live them and linger longer in the Lord’s presence, not rushing away. Make that my desire, O Lord