Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Seeking silence before God

Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (KJV)

In stillness and simplicity
In the silence of the heart I see
The mystery of eternity
Who lives in side of me
In stillness and simplicity
I hear the Spirit's silent plea
That You, oh Lord, are close to me
In stillness and simplicity
You're the Word Who must be heard
By those who listen quietly
Is the reason we're not still
To hear You speak because
We don't believe You will
In stillness and simplicity
I lose myself in finding Thee
Oh Lord, You mean so much to me
In stillness and simplicity
So, seek the One who dwells in you
The kingdom that within is true
That innermost reality
In stillness and simplicity

When I thought about this verse during the morning service, this song from Michael Card came to mind. Now I’m aware that this verse, in context, is God telling the nations opposed to Israel to, as Smith’s Literal Translation says, “Desist, and know that I am God …” Still, does not God also speak this to our hearts, to the thoughts, desires and noise that constantly war for our attention? Many Christians miss the “stillness and simplicity” with the constant noise to which we subject ourselves.

A recently-published book talks about how constant, excessive noise endangers our health—and how even several European cities are trying to deal with this problem. I also wonder if the constant noise we as believers experience each day—even in churches—in the same way harm our spiritual life. I’m not at all against loud music in church or using different media to proclaim God’s Word. But when are we taught to simply come before God in silence, in a place where we can escape the noise and distractions (outside the Catholic and Orthodox traditions)? And while I’m aware that distracting thoughts will come our way while we spend time in this silence, I believe that standing on the verse above, and speaking it to those distracting thoughts, will bring us back to “stillness and simplicity.” Even using recited prayer in this instance can help us.

I’m reminded of Peter receiving that life-changing vision in Acts 10:10. I could not picture him going into that trance without being in a place of quietness before God. And we see Jesus responding to Nathanael’s time of quietness in John 1:48: “…Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” The fig tree was a place for Jews to escape the noise and distractions of their house, to pray and meditate. Jesus told Nathanael He saw him there—and I believe Jesus’ special presence await us there, “in stillness and simplicity.”

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