Since God is timeless, it is always a sweet surprise when I discover him working — right on time.
A year ago, I bought a lovely journal to add to my stash. Never enough journals for a writer, you know. This particular journal caught my eye because the cover was a quiet country scene with wildflowers and the verse from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
In one version, the imperative is to “Cease striving.” Still another version underscores the words, “Let be and be still.”
But my favorite is the Amplified version of a parallel verse in Psalm 37:7, “Be still and quietly rest in the Lord, wait for him, and patiently lean yourself upon him.”
Just before one of my New Mexico vacations, God pointed me toward this verse. It became a visual for my morning meditations and a jumpstart for hope.
Be still. As I sat beside the clear mountain stream and listened to its melodious splashing over smooth rocks, I practiced being still. I allowed the sounds and textures of the Southwest to speak to me, to bring solace to my stressed soul.
No need to utter a prayer. Just sit there and enjoy God’s presence, highlighted by his creation. The stillness became its own prayer.
It is an important spiritual practice — and an emotional gift — to be still. To shut out the noise. Turn off the TV. Set the phone aside and be still. Solitude is a friendly teacher which often reveals the exact message our souls need. In the perfect timing.
Rest quietly. In our electronically-designed world, we have lost the ability to rest quietly. It takes intentional purposing to retrieve it.
During my time in the mountains, cell service was sporadic. A gift. No need to watch TV when we could go hiking on mountain trails or fish at the stream. On vacation, I leave my laptop at home. No Facebook posts, tweets, or emails reach me.
The monastics called it “The Grand Silence.” Every evening they disciplined themselves to cease speaking and curtail activity so they might clearly discern the Divine Whisper.
Saint Benedict, the father of the monastic way wrote, “Therefore, because of the importance of silence, let permission to speak be seldom given to perfect disciples, even for good and holy and edifying discourse.”
In silence, we learn more about ourselves. Why we fidget. What stimulates us and prevents sleep. Which noise-makers plant seeds of anger or cynicism which affect our faith.
On Sundays, I observe an internet Sabbath and the last hour before bedtime is a time of silence. It restores my soul and prepares me for the new week.
Wait for him. As we rest quietly and wait for God to share whatever secrets he wants, the discipline of patience asserts itself.
God’s timing is, of course, perfect. When we step out of his boundaries, we find ourselves stressed, burdened, and puzzled that our peace is disturbed.
But as we wait, our souls anticipate when God WILL speak, how he WILL instruct us, and show us the way that is best for us. He always has our best in mind. As the Alpha and the Omega, he determines the end from the beginning. Then he fills in everything in between.
On the last evening of that vacation, God showed up. I walked past the river and around the man-made lake where other vacationers fished and fed the ducks. In the movement of walking, I thanked God for the week of quiet and opened my soul’s heart to hear his response.
Several paragraphs of instruction flowed through my soul, along with the warmth of divine love. A reminder to obey the final phrase of Psalm 37:37, to patiently lean on God for future plans and next steps.
As I pulled out my journal to write and process God’s promises, I glanced once again at the cover. The country scene with wildflowers in the foreground. A quiet setting, serenely focused on the surrounding land, far from the noise of the city and its fast-paced intensity.
And that verse, engraved boldly on the grey background, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Yes indeed. God showed up — right on time — with an underscoring of hope. He will do the same for you, as you quietly rest in him.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
On this Valentine’s Day, consider sharing hope with a single mom. Just for Today: Hope for Single Moms.
Solitude. A friendly teacher indeed. May I frequent the classroom. Important reminder.
Jerry – your comments are as beautiful as your prose. Thank you!