Quietly

quietly

Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT) Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

I am pretty sure that I was born talking. From my earliest report cards, teachers have tried to put a positive spin on my need to communicate excessively. Conversation is not a struggle at all and I can strike up a conversation with just about anybody – anywhere much to the chagrin of my children. Never at a loss for words made silence a difficult place for me. Filling the atmosphere with words, padded the unease of the unknown. Quiet is awkward to most people when others are present. It is the greatest fear in all conversation. The moment when there is nothing left to say but only listen. No wonder “let all that I am wait quietly before the Lord” is such a struggle.

God still speaks to people. I am heartbroken when people tell me that they do not hear the Voice of God on a regular basis. It means that although the Creator of the Universe is talking – those who He loves and desires are not listening. God is always speaking to us. He is always telling us what He has in store for us, how to find it, and comforting us when we are fearful. The Lord whispers truth to overcome the lie that the enemy barrages us with daily. We must learn to wait quietly on the Lord expecting Him to speak rather than wishing that He would or hoping that He does but rather knowing that God will.

When I began writing this blog eight years ago, it was with one intention. To hear the Voice of God. So each morning, I set my alarm thirty minutes earlier to read the Word of God, pray and journal whatever God chose to say to me. For eight years, every single day, the Lord has spoken to me in these moments surrendered to Him. Some mornings, He wakes me up ready to tell me something before I am ready to receive. There have only been a handful of days when I have not submitted an entry but even on those days – my journal is full for more than 2,590 days to be exact. The problem is not God speaking to us but our willingness and ability to hear Him. In John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.” We must learn to wait quietly on the Lord each day.

Psalm 119:93-96 (NLT) I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws. Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.

There are a million and one teachings on prayer. How to pray. What to pray for. When to pray. The concept has been thoroughly dissected but from what perspective. Prayer is communication with God. Communication is not just talking but listening. Jesus told us how to pray. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6) I wonder what would happen if we chose to pray this prayer then waited quietly to hear the Lord speak to us. Instead, it is human nature to lay out our cares, worries, and concerns in vivid detail and tell God exactly what is expected of Him to make our life more comfortable. The way to pray is with bold confidence.

Prayer is not asking God to do something that He is not willing to do and expecting Him to change His Mind. Prayer is an open conversation with God committing our life to His Word, His Will and His Way. It is in these moments that God tells us what to do. I have found this to be even on the most finite level of conversation. As a youth leader, I was given the task of completely renovating a new space for the young people with just $300. This included the supplies needed such office supplies and prizes. My heart wanted to give its best to these kids so used furniture was not my objective. Nobody believed that I could buy any decent furniture for the money allotted to the task. I knew God would do it so when I was leaving the house to shop – I simply prayed, “Lord, lead me.” I immediately knew the name of the department store to go to. So I went even though this store did not carry a great deal of furniture. After spending more than an hour wandering the store, I couldn’t find anything. So I prayed, “Lord, where is it?” Immediately I knew to go to the Garden Center of all places. There stacked from the floor to ceiling were six futon cartons marked down to just $25. Thank you Jesus! I bought them all and then prayed, “Lord, I need a truck.” You don’t have to believe that God will speak to you on such a level as my shopping experience, but He does.

God’s Word shapes the expectation of our heart. Sowing the Word in our life creates familiarity with the Voice of God and how He communicates. When I pray God’s Word, I always get an answer. When I pray my will and way, it is met with silence. My expectation will go unmet if based on this life and this world that I live in. It is only by spending time in the Word do I recognize His Voice and am given the opportunity to do what He says. Are you in the Word of God today? Do you have time set aside specifically to study God’s Word? How will you know His Voice if you don’t know His Word? Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh that came and died for us to live. How can I know Jesus and not know the Word?

The Word of God allows us to discern the Truth from a lie. The enemy fills our life with lies and even half-truths that keep us from fully trusting and believing the Word of God. He is convincing because people are not confident. Confident hope is the product of committed faith. Our commitment to faith is evident in our desire to know the Word of God and live in its Truth. When we pray the Word of God, He answers in return. The Word fuels and feeds our Spirit so it is strengthened to engage with our flesh day by day.

Psalm 131 (NLT) Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—now and always.

Newborn babies cry when they are hungry because of an unmet need and lack of trust. They do not know where their next meal is coming from but they know they want one. As a baby grows into a toddler, they know that mama will feed them so they look for her and express their need. Even when she is fixing food, they will grab her leg, whine and flail about waiting for it to be ready. Now that my children are teenagers, if they feel hungry, which is most of the time, they go straight to the refrigerator or pantry to get food. Even those who have grown and left the nest often come in and go straight for the refrigerator. This is our progression in Jesus Christ. Newborn Christians cry out to the Lord for every discomfort and hunger they have. They do not want to wait so impatiently insist on their own way. Maturity in Christ is knowing what God’s Word says and reaching out to take it. It also means trusting God in the waiting, and overcoming the tendency to compromise due to a lack of trust and self-control. If I want what God offers, I must go to Him with confidence and wait for Him to act.

Pride is the very thing that kills our conversation with God many times. It is the idea that when God does not act immediately or according to our expectation that it is up to us to do something more. We want what God has for us… or do we? Paul talks about it in Romans 7. The struggle between our flesh and the Spirit within us is constant. I want to do what is right, but I don’t. I want to be faithful to God’s Word, but I wonder and wander. Galatians 5:16-18 further confirms the war raging for control in our mind, soul and body. We cannot hear the Voice of God because there are too many voices vying for control. How do I silence the noise to hear God’s Voice clearly?

The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and writes it on our heart. It is the examination point of every voice in our life. When we begin to stop listening to the enemy, other people and choose to wait quietly to hear the Voice of God – His Whisper can be heard. The Holy Spirit produces self-control for this reason. Confidence in the Lord and consummation with His Spirit is made known by self-control which is contrary to human nature. It is the anchor of hope that keeps us engaged when the things we pray for seem impossible to every audible voice but not in God’s Realm.

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NLT) The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6) What is your greatest desire in life? What are your priorities? Deuteronomy 8:3 was reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 4 that people do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Most of our prayer life is consumed with asking for the things that God already promised to those who walk by faith not by sight, yoked to Jesus Christ, and simply follow His Way. To repeatedly ask for what is promised implies distrust and smacks of doubt that the One who has promised is faithful. God is going to answer a repeated request the same way every time. He does not lie or change His Mind. Your attitude and actions do not change the outcome. God already planned the outcome. He is just waiting for you to change your mind and trust Him. Believe Him. Have a little faith? Just enough to let go of your way to follow Him.

The verses preceding Lamentations 3:22-26 say this…”The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…” The crashing waves of uncertainty, rushing wind of the storm, and the earth shaking circumstances that you are facing will overshadow the still small voice of God outside of faith and confident hope. God must become our inheritance and our portion. The One who promises is faithful but if I don’t believe it – I will not listen for His Voice but look for a way out of my troubles. Your Kingdom come – Your Will be done is a trust fall statement with God that no matter what You have me, right Lord? We will not hear the Lord’s Voice clearly until we believe that He has something worth repeating. It is only when I decide to seek Him wholeheartedly and wait for the Lord that I hear His Voice the loudest in my life.

I Kings 19:11-13 (NLT) “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

It is human nature to get caught up in words and tangled in lies. We engage in so many conversations in a day exposing our heart and mind to snares carefully laid by a ruthless enemy. Our faith in the Lord must be the foundation of our life to be secure. Confident hope anchors our soul in the belief that God is good. His Love unfailing. His Grace never ending. My future secure. When Elijah came to the Lord in his hiding, the Lord asked the prophet, “What are you doing here? Elijah laid out all his fears before the Lord. God invited Elijah to come out of his hiding place and stand before Him. It was in that place that he encountered the windstorm, the avalanche from the blast, the wind, the earthquake and then the fire. God was not in any of those things. It was after all the commotion that Elijah heard the sound of a gentle whisper. “Elijah, what are you doing here? His complaint still the same. However, Elijah was in a different place and position. He had moved from fear and doubt hiding in a cave into the Presence of God. God told him exactly what to do next in vivid detail.

God wants to talk to you. Not through anyone else, but face-to-face. Yes, YOU! His Voice is clear and audible to those who are listening wholeheartedly. Those who believe enough not to be distracted by the busyness and chaos of life but will not take another step until God directs it. God is speaking are you listening? Sometimes, God stops speaking because of disobedience and unwillingness to follow instructions. The Lord is just waiting for us to do the last thing that He said because our next step is dependent on the last. He does not lie or change his mind. He is not going to give you something else because you don’t like the last word or instruction. His Plan is perfect even though we are not. Trusting the Lord allows confidence in God’s Ability to silence doubt so we can hear His Voice clearly.

Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT) I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

We must learn to wait quietly before God today and every day. If your heartfelt desire is to know Him more, it is impossible outside of daily communion with Him. To sit and visit with Him. Sharing your heart and listening for His Voice to share His with you as well. It will happen if we allow His Word to work in us and His Spirit to produce self-control that seeks His Presence each morning, throughout the day, and even as we lay our head down to sleep. God is with us. He is not silent. I must wait quietly to hear Him for it is by His Word that I live.

Psalm 27:7-8 (NLT) Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

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