Years ago, Nicholas Herman slogged along a snowy trail in the dead of winter. As a weary soldier, he could hardly wait to thaw his frozen feet and eat a bowl of hearty stew. However, while trudging home he came upon a mature fruit tree, stripped bare of its summer beauty.

It gave him pause.

red apple on green leavesGazing at the tree, he considered how the leaves would burst forth with vitality come spring. A flurry of flowers would bloom, bringing color and fragrance. And after lush rains and summer sun, fruit would form.

Like something from nothing, God would provide a bountiful harvest. Suddenly, it all seemed miraculous.

As he stayed in the wonder of those thoughts, God’s presence quietly descended on him, showering glory all around. Who knows how long he remained there. Time had somehow stopped.

d5545757-2c90-4727-80f0-9ec5d0b269c7And in those holy moments, God imprinted something on his soul, which never faded. Released from the mindset of things-as-they-seem, he was captured by a “high view of the providence and power of God.” Later, he told a friend that the experience produced a passion for God in his heart that did not diminish in the forty years that followed.

That young soldier was also known as Brother Lawrence, a kitchen worker for the Carmelite monks in the 1600s. Like a dormant tree in spring, he awoke from an earthly mindset to a heightened heavenly awareness.

He believed an extraordinary God was intimately involved in ordinary life. And that one remarkable truth sparked an ongoing conversation with God that would last the rest of his life.

All because he paused.

Woman with headache, overwhelmed with lifeThe Spirit of God hovers over our busy, distracted, caffeine-charged, multi-tasking days—waiting for us to pause.

But the complexities of modern life demand our constant attention. An ad in the Wall Street Journal for SAP, a multi-national software company, stated that, “Complexity is becoming the most intractable issue of our time, an epidemic of wide-ranging proportions, affecting our lives, our work and even our health. Eight out of ten children today think life is too complicated. A third of working professionals experience health issues as a consequence of stress associated with information overload. And 62% believe their personal relationships are suffering as a direct result of complexity.”

“Complexity comes at an enormous cost,” the ad writer concluded.[i] Of course, SAP is peddling technical resources that promise to simplify. But software, no matter how helpful, is not a balm for our weary souls.

The question is—why don’t we pause? Is there a poverty of soul that we’re afraid to be in the same room with? Do we silence it with the drone of TV?

What is the swirl of thoughts that you live in day to day? Is it the stream of current events in the news? Is your mind occupied with staying one step ahead of that difficult boss at work? Are you obsessed with your physical imperfections, planning the next diet or exercise routine? It is political vitriol? Or are you consumed with the task of raising small children, parenting teenagers, or being a caregiver to the elderly. Maybe your marriage has been limping along for years, or worse—it’s in crisis.

I’m not trying to diminish legitimate concerns. Please understand. But if you could roll the tape of your thoughts in one 24-hour period, what would it look like. What shapes the lens of your mindset? What forms your perceptions about life?

eyeglasses in the hand over blurred tree backgroundFor Brother Lawrence, everything was seen through the lens of intimacy with God. After pausing by that barren fruit tree, he put on God Glasses for the rest of his days.

One could argue that his world wasn’t complex like ours. He wasn’t married or raising children or paying bills. He didn’t have the problems of the entire world dumped in his lap every day and night courtesy of CNN or FOX. Maybe so.

But I think no matter who you are, or what century you’re living in, or how great your responsibilities are, God offers the same pair of glasses.

Laney on boardwalk with flowersWill we see our spouses with the eyes of Jesus? Will we pause to really look at our children and drink in the wonder of their existence? Will we respond to our work troubles with the mind of Christ? Will we sense God’s arms around us in our grief or loneliness? Will we listen for His whispers throughout the day? Will we tell Him our innermost thoughts?

Will we do life with God—or do life without Him?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”[ii]


[i] The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2014, page A11.

[ii] Revelations 3:20


  1. Brilliant. I loved every line. Good timing too as I’m “pausing” today at Big Sky.

  2. I love God’s timing! I have an appointment, today, to pick up a new pair of glasses. I’ve been so looking forward to getting them, as my eyesight has gotten worse and I need a stronger prescription. But how much better would it be to have the same enthusiasm for a pair of “God glasses.” I think I’ll pick up a pair this morning! 🙂

  3. Top of my Christmas list: GOD GLASSES!

    Do you happen to have an “in” with Santa?

    candy cane kisses to you
    suzee B

    • So glad to hear. Thank you one and all! Sorry that Mail Chimp “paused” the emailed notification on Sunday when you usually received it!
      Funny as the title of the post was PAUSE!!