Someone mentioned recently in conversation that they were “fasting from noise”. That struck me as a beautiful thought and a wonderful plan. Our culture has become so noisy, so media and device driven that it is actually quite difficult to find a quiet moment. Yet that is just what God instructs us to do.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
It is so very hard to be still. Maybe not for everyone, but it is for me. When I am busy “Doing” it is easier. Easier to forget the things that are past, easier to push aside uncertainty, easier to find value in doing instead of in “being”. In the still moments it can be easy to allow the voice of attack by the evil one in. I think that is why God says to “Be still and Know that He is God.”
Depending on your background, that might sound worse. When you stop to reflect on God being God, you may have an image that doesn’t fit the Biblical example of Who God Is. Many people picture a God that is angry, waiting to hurl lightning bolts, or rain fire down on them for daring to step foot in a church. I have recently heard both perspectives from someone being totally serious. Some may picture God as an All-knowing being that lacks in any compassion, or any one of a myriad of other damaged perspectives on God.
I love reading from the OT prophets. Many of the things that were going on in their cultures are paralleled in ours today. Also, there can be great healing and peace to be found in the ways that God describes himself.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
Notice how many “I will…” statements God makes in just this one example passage. Depending on how you count it, there are 15 positive “I will” statements and one negative “I will” statement in these 6 verses.
I believe if you search the Bible you will find a verse about God’s character that speaks to you. Then try to set aside a couple of minutes to sit and let that verse soak into you.
It might mean that you don’t turn the radio on while driving, or maybe you don’t read the newspaper at coffee break while you are working. Whatever you need to change in your routine is worth it.
Sitting quietly alone with God might feel strange at first. Before long though, you will find yourself longing for that quiet place. To just let the world fade away, be still, and know that He is God.
There are many examples of Jesus praying, but the one that has really stuck with me this week is found in Luke, immediately following one of the times that he cleansed a leper.
Luke 5:15-16 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
This verse struck a chord in my heart, and put into words the longing I have been feeling. I realized it has been far too long to since I did just that, “withdraw to lonely places and pray.” As the season is slowly changing in New Hampshire from winter to spring, new life is preparing to spring up all around us. I feel very much the pull in this season for a quiet moment in a hurried world, to slip away to some lonely place and be still with God.