When the Psalmists says “Be still, and know that I am God..” (Psalms 46:10, ESV) I find the reality of being still very challenging. Why? Because, I am a doer, I need to be with people, I need to be doing things.
I have found that there are other Christian traditions that are much better at this than my own. I remember taking to a friend who was telling me that he was going to a silence retreat. He was not allowed to talked to anyone! Wow!
To be honest, I am better at to shutting down the external noise that comes to me. I belong to a large family and my own family is large, plus two cats! The external noise is manageable, it can be controlled but I am more concerned with the noise that lives within me.
Noises like the thoughts that run loose in my mind, the emotions that run wild within my soul and the pain that it is my body, screaming legs because of the spin classes that I go to! But deep within my spirit there is a desire to be a rest, to learn the rhythm of stillness and live from a place rest.
Can I hear His voice in silence? My quest is this: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in ” silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalms 62:5 ESV).
“If you have attended a Bible College (some of them don’t teach you this!) or if you have been in a mission organisation then you will know or taught how to have a “quiet time”. I learned this when I was in OM Logos 2. Every morning we were encouraged to do a “quiet time with the Lord”. The idea was that we set a time, preferable in the morning and read, meditate, worship the Lord using the Scriptures. I learned the value of a “Quiet Time” and that discipline has helped me in my journey.
But, I have always struggled with the word “Quiet”. I can do “Time” but I had to force myself to be quiet!
I have read good books encouraging me into the “quietness of the Lord” generally telling me this:
- If a thought that it is not His crosses my mind, then make sure you rejected it, that is why we have 2 Cor. 10, right?
- If your mind wonders you need to get focus and concentrate!
- If your mind reminds you of the things that you need to do, then get a notepad and write it down. The problem with that is that I have too many things to write down!!
How can I be still and silent before the Lord, and not get bored and looking at my watch?
I NEED TO BE CAPTIVATED BY A GREATER VISION
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalms 84:1–2 ESV)
This is one of my favourite Psalms, I love these verses because I love the presence of God, I desire to dwell in His Place. I am hungry, my soul longs, faint for the Presence the Lord. I long to see Him and enjoy His Presence.
His Presence is not just for power encounters, it is much more than that, His Presence defines us and in His Presence He helps us to come into His rest.
In His Presence I am captivated by the beauty of His Being. This is what the Psalmist says “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalms 27:4 ESV).
I love to be drawn into his Presence with worship, privately or publicly. I love asking God to dwell in his House and I do seek His Presence. I am a pursuer of His Presence and I will do that for rest of my life. I need to be captivated by His GLORY, I need “to gaze upon his beauty”. I need to set alight the eyes of my imagination, helped the Biblical account of what He looks like (e.g. Isaiah 6: 1-7; Daniel 7:13-14;Rev. 1:12-17) and “behold His Beauty, behold His Favour, His Glory, His Majesty, His Power, and His Holiness.
I do this in the natural. There is a place in Chile, it is in the the coast near where I grew up where I used to go and watch the immensity of the Pacific Ocean. It does not matter whether it is winter, spring, summer or autumn the beauty of that place takes my breath away and I have found myself in complete silence and quietens because the of the majesty and beauty that is in front of me.
I hope you can see why it is so important to gaze upon His Beauty. It will take your breath away, there are no words, just stillness and within this silence and quietness there is great power, the power of his very own Majestic Presence.
“I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1 NIV11)