As I write this the Summer holidays are [finally] drawing to a close. Now don't get me wrong, I love the extra time with my kids, the older they get the more I appreciate the chance to go slow with them. But I have one big problem with the looong Summer break, and that's this - the quest for quiet in the school holidays results in far too many nights of what I term 'adult rebellion.' By this I mean I stay up MUCH later than I should in a desperate attempt to enjoy a few moments of quiet and personal space. More often than not I regret this lapse in judgment the next day, but by the time the last one falls asleep I find myself doing it again! I have to wonder if it was a mum in desperate search of quiet that came up with our saying 'silence is golden!'
Quiet has been defined as the absence of noise and bustle; silence or calm. More than I long for the quiet at the end of the day, I long for a quiet soul. I want to be at rest, experiencing peace - His peace - no matter what noise might be happening around me.
I don't know how your 2016 has begun - perhaps you have come in to this new year with it all mapped out, your i's dotted and your t's crossed so-to-speak. Or maybe, just maybe, like me you have started the year with uncertainties and blank spaces that you are waiting for God to come and fill. In this season of my life, God has been teaching me afresh the importance of how I wait - reminding me to keep a posture of trust at all times.
We often associate great faith with the ability to do great things - with taking risks and 'stepping out' - but great faith also exists in places of quiet, in the ability to be still and wait. Sometimes the true extent of our faith, of our trust in God is evidenced by our capacity to cease and be silent long enough to hear what God is saying; to be still long enough to let Him show us His goodness and His power.
In Isaiah 30, God spoke to the Israelites at a point in time when they had been busy making their own plans. They were looking for strength outside of Him and they had chosen to partner with Egypt in the hope that her military strength would save them from all their troubles. And God says to them:
We all have our Egypt - the things that vye for our attention; the scenarios and plans that we put our hope in. But God wants to be our source of salvation, our place of strength, the One who brings rest to our souls. And these verses tell me that if I want this to be my reality that I need to stop racing ahead and turn myself around to come back and keep in step with Him; that I need to be quiet (that's not easy for this words girl!) and wait with a posture of confident expectation and trust. Unfortunately, I can tend to be like the Israelites running off on swift horses' and doing things on my own terms - or at least my mind does anyway! My mind races ahead and before I know it I have lost my quiet soul, exchanging it for worry and anxiety as I try and figure things out within my limitations.
Quietness and trust in my experience requires a continual choice to withdraw from this worry and anxiety; to deliberately and consciously retreat from fighting my own battles. It can be a daily, if not moment by moment choice to surrender and be still.
But I have discovered that I can wait quietly when I know the One I wait with.
We can wait quietly when we know God's heart is one of grace, of compassion, of justice.
We can wait quietly when we know that He not only hears but answers.
We can wait quietly when hearing Him, hearing His voice has become our priority.
Most of us are waiting for something and God wants us to know that that waiting doesn't need to be filled with worry or striving. No it can be filled with quiet, with confident hope and rest because of who He is.
Even after the Israelites had run off on their swift horses His heart was still for them. And even when we've raced on ahead of Him, his heart is still for us.
Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you. And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who wait for Him [since He will never fail them].
The heart of God is excited, expectant for the opportunity to show us His goodness! He will not fail us - so whatever it is that you are waiting on as this new year unfolds, I pray that you will join me in adopting a posture of quietness and confidence so that His strength can become our strength.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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