As I write this I am enjoying a rare moment - the house is quiet! Everyone is out and Lucas is sleeping. A quiet, still household is a luxury at this time in my life - I am ever grateful for such a full home and heart, but you'll hear no complaints from me when I get the opportunity to have the place all to myself!
When I launched this new site back in January, I did so with the post 'In Search of Quiet', sharing with you the longing of my heart for a quiet soul. A soul that was at rest, at peace no matter how much 'noise' was happening around me. Over the past few months, as I have meditated on my key passage for the year - Isaiah 30 - and journeyed through various experiences, God has enabled me to understand the power of choosing to be quiet before Him.
In Isaiah 30, the Israelites faced a very real threat - the Assyrian army. In their fear and panic to save themselves, they had reached out to Egypt and formed an alliance with her, hoping that she would be strong enough to protect them from the Assyrians. But the problem with this, is that is wasn't God's strategy - it wasn't His solution to the issues that they were encountering.
God's strategy was this:
...In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength...
As you study the original language in its context, God was literally saying - you don’t need to race ahead and fight your own battle – in fact you need to withdraw from the fight. You need to come back and position yourself with Me. You need to slow down and wait on me; you need to stop talking to everyone about this problem and be at rest in this situation because you can have absolute confidence in who I am. And as you do this I'm going to give you MY strength, I'm going to let you see my mighty deeds and ultimately I'm going to bring you to a place of salvation, of victory. What a promise!
Sadly verse 15 ends with this statement - but you would have none of it. Ponder those words for a moment - you would have none of it. How often do we encounter obstacles, threats, mountains and just like the Israelites, allow fear, anxiety, what we perceive as time-pressures and constraints to dictate our response. We rush ahead and make our own plans - and then pin all of our hopes on these plans and on other people. Sometimes if we’re really honest – we’ve not only not asked God what He thinks, we’ve actually deliberately chosen to ignore His promptings. So we’ve pressed ahead, usually with the well-meaning intention of being responsible and self-sufficient but not leaving much room for God to do His thing in our lives!
Part of learning to be quiet before God is learning to slow down. Consciously pushing aside our fears, the timetable and schedules that seem to demand an instant decision and choosing instead to seek the Father.
Our year began with a multitude of changes as well as some significant uncertainties. Many of the decisions that we needed to make hinged on other people making decisions first, and so we found ourselves at a crossroads - did we wait to see how those decisions would play out, or did we just get on with it and make our choices? Waiting meant we faced a significant short-fall in our family budget and so getting on with it, racing ahead seemed like the logical and responsible thing to do. But it didn't sit right with us. We could sense God whispering that this was not our battle to fight, that we were to follow His strategy - we were to slow down and wait quietly, wait with a posture of trust and confidence.
As we waited, we experienced what God promises in Isaiah 30:21:
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.
Slowing down to seek Him enabled us to hear Him; hearing Him allowed us to see Him. That's the power of being quiet!
Over the last few months His strength has become our strength - we have seen His mighty deeds firsthand and experienced Him bringing 'salvation', breakthrough into the situations that we faced. His instructions throughout this time have not been how we would have gone about things, and just like the Israelites, we could have had none of it; we could have so easily missed out on the power of quiet if we'd allowed our fear to cause us to race ahead of God.
Where do you need to slow down today? What situation are you facing that is causing you to race ahead? Where do you feel like the battle is dependent on you and your limited resources? Don't be like the Israelites - embrace God's strategy of quiet so that you too can hear Him and see Him at work in your own life.
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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