Some days I doubt my parenting stamina. Usually it’s somewhere around pretend super-hero rescue number seventeen—all of which look suspiciously similar in plot—that I start questioning just how much imagination I have left.
It’s impossible to count the number of such situations I’ve found myself in these past five or so years. It never ceases to amaze me the sheer capacity a kid has for repetition, but as a parent it can get so boring. And yet, I keep on pretending to be a monster, participating in a super-hero rescue, playing “fetch” with my “dogs” (named “doggy” and “dog-dog”, obviously). Over and over and over again.
Because I love spending time with my kids. I love their laughs, their enthusiasm, their surprising bolts of insight and creativity. I love to see who they really are, what they truly enjoy, what brings them life. Even if it’s not what I would choose.
The Bible uses a term to describe Jesus that would have been—and still is when you think about it—shocking to those hearing it for the first time. Immanuel. God with us. Jesus was making the presence of God tangible to us. God walking around.
Why would God leave His throne, be born in a stable, grow up in a poor family from the outskirts of nowhere, work as a carpenter day after day until He couldn’t raise His arms, and go through all the heartbreak of His ministry and death?
Because He loves spending time with His kids. Far more deeply, and consistently, and perfectly than I do (to state the obvious). Jesus, Immanuel, embodies this most clearly, but when you look for it, it shows up throughout the Bible.
God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. He put His presence right in the heart of the Israelite camp as they wandered the wilderness. He grieved when Israel rejected Him in favor of a human king. He showed Hosea that His love was like that of a betrayed husband who longs for his wife to come back home. He told Joel that the day was coming when He would put His Spirit inside each and every one of His children.
The evidence is everywhere. The Bible is the story of God pursuing us at all costs, of God’s plan to make His deepest desire a reality: to be with us, all day, every day.
Many of us know we could be with God, but for one reason or another—busyness, distraction, apathy—we choose not to. We go through our days not tapping into the relationship that is sitting right there waiting for us, and we wonder why we struggle with impatience, or anger, or fear. Maybe God wants to be with us not just for His own benefit, but because He knows that we were never created to be alone. We were made to be in relationship with Him, all day, every day.
So how do we do it? There’s any number of ways one might connect with God, but one of the most tried and true is what we at Willow call “Chair Time”. Chair Time is, simply, sitting in a chair and connecting with Jesus. It’s making it a daily, consistent practice to be with God. And when we choose to do that, it can have a profound effect on our lives.
Chair Time has a few different elements to it. You prepare your heart and create an environment in which you can truly meet with God. You spend time talking to Jesus in prayer. You open the Bible and read God’s Word. And finally, you reflect on and respond to what God is saying to you. We are going to walk through these elements one by one this week, giving you practical tips and ways of engaging with them along the way.
Our goal is to equip you fully to sit down each day and spend time with Jesus. So as you read these posts this week, we hope you will make it a priority to fully engage. Try this out, practice it, and see what God might say to you through it. God deeply desires to be with you, like a good Father with His children. Pull up a chair; let’s meet with Him.
To get started, either today or tomorrow morning, find a chair and try it out. Ask God to meet with you, open your Bible, read a little, and listen. If you need some direction in what to read, check out the devotionals Kellye Fabian writes here. Or, just turn to the book of Luke, or Philippians, which are two of my favorites, and start reading. If it doesn’t go perfectly this first time, don’t worry about it. Keep at it, and engage with the upcoming posts that will equip you in all the facets of Chair Time.
Written by Curtis Miller