I love silence.
A place where I can connect with nothing, and with God.
A sacred space where I can talk to my Father that I can’t see, but I can feel.
A small circle where I can be influenced without saying a single word.
But, this kind of relationship requires my presence.
I have to show up.
I have to be honest.
I know about running.
Putting distance between myself and difficulty.
The wrong kind of silence.
When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)
I remember times in my life where I avoided thoughts of God.
I stopped talking to Him.
I couldn’t hear His voice.
I had seasons where I experienced spiritual leanness, where my faith was tested.
He allowed affliction.
I needed discipline to find my way into God’s presence.
Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him requires a lot of courage and know-how. (Thomas Merton)
Initially I found my way into God’s presence through worship.
It helped me to focus on Him, to take my eyes away from myself.
Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence. (Johann Sebastian Bach)
I learned to breathe.
I could breathe out my thoughts.
The anxiety and confusion.
I focused, to breathe in His peace.
My desire to find Him and His presence.
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him. (William Barclay)
I consciously chose to focus my heart and mind on seeking God.
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. (1 Chronicles 22:19)
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)
I stood on the promises that I found in Scripture.
If you seek him, he will be found by you. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
I want to be honest and transparent, and therefore need to admit that I often fall short.
I hover between an intimate relationship with God and on many days find myself on the outskirts.
I often feel overburdened as a parent.
I know that if I measured myself I would fail.
I have to check myself regularly.
I am proud.
I am blind.
I get irritated.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him. (Psalm 10:4)
I learned in a hard way that I cannot seek the Lord casually.
I need isolation.
I need to be alone, to be able to hear.
I found consolation in knowing that there were others like me.
Exodus 34:3 – Moses was alone.
No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountains.
Genesis 12: 1-3 – Abraham was alone
Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”
Acts 10: 9-23 – Peter was alone.
Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Revelation 1:9 – John was exiled and alone.
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Acts 23:23-35 – Paul was alone.
He was taken captive and confined for two years when he wrote the book of Romans.
Daniel 9:3 – Daniel was alone.
I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes.
Luke 5:16 – Jesus was alone.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The precious times that I spend on my own, refuel me and sustain me during the times when I have to do life.
The joy of the Lord shall be your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I long for the day when I can remain in God’s presence forever.
Where there will be no interruptions.
In His presence
In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel said he lived in the presence of God: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.” (Luke 1:19)
In the meantime, I enjoy God’s presence in everyday life.
I am on the lookout to enjoy small moments of wonder.
A silent prayer.
Knowing that He is there.
He is for me.
He knows about me.
It boggles my mind that someone can see life breathed into a baby, watch the grass die and then come to life again, see leaves fall and watch the rebirth of a tree, or gaze on any of the majestic splendour that is on this earth and not be overpowered by the presence of the Almighty God. (Bill McCartney)
There is a beautiful moment in the Bible when the prophet Elijah feels God’s presence. The Scriptures say that a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. It was the whisper of God. Today we can hear the whisper where we least expect it; in a baby refugee and in a homeless rabbi, in crack addicts and displaced children, in a groaning creation. (Shane Claiborne)
As this year draws to a halt…
I pray that you will seek Him.
That you will find your rest.
That you will stay in His presence.