The Secret Place
By Susan Sage
“Good morning, Reilley.”
“Sorry to just drop by, Gladys.”
“No problem. Come on in. How about some tea?”
“Don’t go to any trouble …”
“Oh, it’s no trouble at all. You know me … always ready for a cuppa.”
The two women laughed and went to the kitchen. Gladys filled the kettle and took cups out of the hutch. Then she sent Reilley to the living room to wait. She strolled around the room looking at old pictures of the ocean, rivers, streams, … anything and everything water.
Gladys came into the living room carrying a tray and set it on the coffee table. She handed Reilley a teacup and saucer. “Help yourself to a snickerdoodle.”
“I love these … but really, Gladys, … I … well,”
“Okay sweet friend, spit it out. What’s going on?”
Gladys took her teacup from the tray, leaned back in her favorite wingback chair, and straightened the doily on the chair’s arm before sipping her tea. She watched Reilley and prayed.
“I pray but I don’t feel like anything’s getting through. I try to sit in silence but my mind wanders and I can’t focus.” Reilley took a sip of tea then nibbled at the crisp edge of the cookie she held. “I don’t get it. I read my Bible and a devotional. And yet, I feel like … like …”
“Like something’s missing?”
“Yes, exactly.” She took another sip of tea and returned the cup to its saucer. Reilley’s hands fidgeted and twisted in her lap. “I really need to know … what’s your secret?”
“Yes. You always seem to be so connected to God. I see peace when I look at your eyes. So … what’s your …”
“Stop trying so hard, Reilley.”
“For me, it’s about meeting God in our own secret place. That place where it’s just the two of us. I guard my heart with Him.”
“You said your mind wanders when you pray. Distraction comes from an overly busy heart. We worry about things that aren’t ours to wrestle with. The devil brings them up in the quiet time we want with God.”
“So, what do I do?”
“Talk to God out loud, write out your prayer, and maybe get on your knees if you haven’t tried that. You see, the devil likes to take advantage of routine. If my time with God becomes habitual, my heart isn’t in it and it wanders, which allows my mind to do the same. I think it’s one of the reasons God tells us to be still.”
“Ah, Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.”
“Yes. Also, we need to put on the armor God gives us every day. Remember from Ephesians six?”
“It’s a battle. The devil is going to take advantage of any opportunity he can to try and muddle your connection with God. By recognizing that distraction is a tool of Satan you can use God’s word to make the deceiver run,” Gladys said smiling at Reilley. “How we handle various situations is unique and, because of that, how we interact with God may look different. The similarity is God. He hides us in a place that’s just for Him. When we start allowing other things to push in on that space, we feel disconnected.”
“But how do I keep that from happening? How do I protect that place?”
“Quit struggling so hard. Breathe deeply of God’s presence in prayer. Allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does … connect us with our Father. When distraction begins, tell the devil to go away and ask the Spirit to send him packing; but do it out loud because Satan can’t read your thoughts.”
Gladys watched Reilley’s eyebrows go up.
“You mean all this time that I’ve been telling the devil to take a hike, but doing it in my mind, he hasn’t even heard it?”
“Correct. Ask God to keep you aware of Him. Talk to Him throughout the day. Ask Him to show you how to stay connected. It’s a prayer that glorifies Him so He will show you if you will ask.”
“Thank you, Gladys. I knew you were the right person to talk to.”
“I’m just glad I can share what I’ve learned. Someday, you’ll do the same for someone else.” Gladys stood and picked up the teacups. “Now, how about if I rewarm our tea.”
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
You can read Susan’s flash fiction column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.