Being still before God … not just in body, but in mind, thought … pausing the replaying of the day in my head … setting aside the planning of conversations for tomorrow … being silent, still before him … the emptying of myself … withdrawing to the inner landscape … in order to be filled up by God … John tells us … my sheep know my voice … God told Elijah … “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. ~from Peterson’s paraphrase of 1 Kings 19
Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God. We are silent before hearing the Word because our thoughts are already directed to the Word, as a child is quiet when he enters his father’s room. We are silent after hearing the Word because the Word is still speaking and dwelling within us. We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God….
Silence is nothing else but waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing. But everybody knows that this is something that needs to be practiced and learned, in these days when talkativeness prevails. Real silence, real stillness, really holding one’s tongue comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness. ~Bonhoeffer
Or lift us, lift our souls to that bright place
Where she doth hide her face;
Lap us in light and cooling fleece, and steep
Our hearts in stillness; drench in drowsy dreams;
Grant us the pleasant langour that beseems
And rock our sleep.
Quell thy bared lightning in the sombre west;
Quiet thy thunder-dogs that bay the Moon;
Soothe the day’s fretting, like a tender nurse;
Breathe on our spirits ’till they be in tune:
Were it not best
To hush all noises in the universe,
And bless with solemn quietude, that thus
The still, small voice of God might speak to us?
Today … I especially need that phrase … soothe the day’s fretting … as I listen to the Great Shepherd …