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I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately on a question that seems critical to friends of Jesus in this hour: How does a person live—and thrive—at the end of the age?

Every dear follower of Jesus I know, including mature saints, is experiencing a “perfect storm” of busyness, crisis, demand, and dark warfare. They are—I believe we all are—very hard-pressed in this hour. It’s draining; it’s rough on the soul. How do we respond? How do we live in such a unique moment as ours, the folks who very well may see the curtain come down on this age?

It’s worth some prayerful reflection, don’t you think?

At the same time, I’ve been lingering in, and somewhat captivated by, Psalm 1:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away. (Psalm 1:1-4)
 
Two types of people are being contrasted here, two types of human experience. The first is rooted and substantive, flourishing and life-giving. I read about those “trees,” whose lives are evergreen, and I long to be that person whose leaf never withers, whose life is fruitful even in scorching times, and whatever they set themselves to do prospers. Isn’t this the life we all want?

Then there is the “chaff” person—so lacking in substance, so shallow and ephemeral, their reality is compared to dandelion puffs that a breath of wind can sweep away. The next crisis, the next piece of bad news simply takes them out. And I kid you not: As I was writing that sentence, my phone rang; a dear ally was calling to reschedule a meeting because he is a financial advisor by profession, and the swirling chaos around the new coronavirus, the stock markets, and world trade has all his clients in total frenzy.

This is what I mean. We live in a chaotic moment, and it’s hard on the soul. It’s trying to dry us all into chaff and then blow us away.

Psalm 1 got my attention because while I long to be the tree rooted by a river of living water, I find myself pretty “spun-up” at the end of most days. More and more dried out as the “World” sucks me dry. So I looked for the key that separates these two types of human experiences, and I saw that it has to do with our attention. The tree-rooted-by-the-river person is able to meditate—give sustained attention to—their God. Not swipe; not multitask. Lingering focus. The writer Steven Crawford asked, “As our mental lives become more fragmented, what is at stake often seems to be nothing less than the question of whether one can maintain a coherent self...a self that is able to act according to settled purposes and ongoing projects, rather than flitting about.”

God’s playful sovereignty dropped in to embellish this letter further in a conversation I had this morning. A Wild at Heart ally was telling me that he has logged 800 minutes on the One Minute Pause App (!). I know, no shame here; I haven’t even logged that myself. What I loved was the story he had to tell. He felt Jesus asking him this year to give Him his attention, simply linger in His presence. He also knew that his busy life and natural drivenness wouldn't make it possible, so he looked here and there for some help and found the One Minute Pause app we created. Now he is that person Psalm 1 describes as rooted by the river, the tree always flourishing. 

How do we live—and flourish—at the end of the age? We fight for our souls! We push back against the constant assault on our attention! We make deliberate choices to linger in the presence of God. We send our roots down into the river of God!

If you haven't downloaded the One Minute Pause app, or if you haven't used it in a while, please do so! It will help you out of the chaos, help you linger in your union with Jesus. It is so healing.

Also, I wanted to give a shout-out for the audiobook version of Get Your Life Back. I recorded it myself, so you and I can have a genuine “conversation” around flourishing. I also recorded a good bit of new content only contained in the audiobook. Even my colleagues here at Wild at Heart are saying they are enjoying it more than reading the book itself. It’s another lifeline, another chance to rescue your soul in this trying hour.

I pray you will become a tree deeply rooted in the riverbank of the very River of Life itself!

Much love,

John

P.S. One more playful sovereign moment: I was about to send this letter when I got a note from a reader who said, “I heard about your new book but thought it wasn’t for me. Even after Homecoming I thought, ‘I got it.’ Boy, was I wrong! The book has been transformational. I’m freer, lighter, happier. I know what I’m experiencing is how I was designed. Thank you!”

Download the Wild at Heart March 2020 newsletter here
 

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About John

John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Wild at Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God's love, and learn to live in God's Kingdom. John met his wife, Stasi, in high school.... READ MORE

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