“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” ~Psalm 46:10
To say we are a loud and fast pace culture would be an understatement to the umpteenth degree. For example you are most likely reading this blog from a link you saw on Twitter or Facebook, that you were scrolling while doing laundry for the work week and watching your favorite TV show or sports team all the while cooking dinner and texting your friends about plans this next weekend. Needless to say we are busy and always have plans and when we don’t have plans we seek to make plans, we wouldn’t want to not have something to do, cause then what would happen? What would happen if we didn’t plan anything, didn’t overfill our calendars, and find time to rest before the Lord in silence, I know the idea is scary, a little uncomfortable even, but wouldn’t it be worth it?
I volunteer on a ministry team that got away this weekend for a prayer retreat and one of the asks for the weekend was to turn your phone off as you were leaving Dallas. Initially my first thought was turn my phone off for “x” amount of hours on a weekend? What if someone needs me? What if something happens back home and no one can get ahold of me? Or if national news breaks, we will be a day behind all the coverage and have to play catch up; I lead a Home Group and help out in Student Ministry, one of those guys may really need me this weekend. And a thousand other reasons to not turn my phone off went through my mind, and this revealed several things in my life to me about the difficulties of silence (disconnecting):
- Control – We (I) love the idea of being in control, no matter how fleeting that thought really is. Sitting in silence is uncomfortable, and we (I) don’t like it.
- Busyness – We (I) love to be busy, love the idea of accomplishing something; also when we are busy we don’t have to think, we can let our minds focus on what we are currently doing, and this can even be good things like serving on a ministry.
- Lack of Focus – We (I) love the term “multi-tasking” when in reality, study after study has come out that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, and doing it all well. Basic definition of focus – is to put something at the center of your attention. We (I) often lack the ability to completely focus on one thing at a time, (one reason we have multiple social media platforms, one simply isn’t enough). Sitting in silence requires us to focus on one thing, what should be the priority in our lives anyways, the Lord.
- Listening – Due to our busyness and our multi-tasking skills, listening has become a lost ability in our culture. How many times are we talking to someone, while thinking about the million other things we need to do that day, or that email we have to send later, or simply scrolling through Twitter or Facebook while talking to someone. Sitting in silence requires us to listen, an ability many of us, myself included, have lost or are losing.
So this weekend I uncomfortably turned off the phone, and went to this retreat with one prayer in mind, a song from a good friend of mine:
“Teach me to be still / Teach me to lay down / I give up all my strength/ lay my armor on the ground / Show me how to rest/ On the altar of Your Will/ I know that You are God/ Teach me to be still”
~ Micah Tyler
In the midst of the quiet and the sometimes awkwardness the Lord taught and reminded me a few things about the silence through Psalm 46:
- Control – He reminded me that He is in control and I am not, and this is really a good thing
- Rest – He reminded me that He is my: Refuge, Strength, and Help (verse 1); We don’t have to do everything on our own, He is with us, and in Him we find our strength and rest. Too many times I’m busy seeking to be used by Him, asking Him to pour me out for the sake of those around me that I neglect to first be filled by Him.
- Safety – He reminded that me that is with me, and is my fortress (verse 7). And in this, where else would we rather be. The thought of being in a fortress, in there you find safety, you feel protected, and find rest because you feel safe. He is our fortress, in the silence we are reminded to rest and find safety in who He is.
- Stillness– Remember who He is. We all know verse 10 of Psalm 46, to be still and know that He is God. One thing the Lord showed me this weekend was being still comes to those who remember who He is. As I walked though Psalm 46 this weekend I was reminded that He is: Our Refuge, Our Strength, Our Help, With Us, Our Fortress; all of this is listed out in the first nine verses, then comes verse ten: “Be Still and know that I am God.” It’s as if the Lord is using the writer of the Psalm to say because the Lord is all these things, be still and marvel at who He is!
Silence is often difficult and uncomfortable, but in the silence we remember who He is, and thus who we are, and that is very comforting.
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”
~ Charles Spurgeon