Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 5, 2016
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me … Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy. Psalm 43:3–4
Because life can be so busy, there are days when I want to take a vacation from my cell phone, e-mail, and all the other technology that sometimes feels like it controls our daily lives. But the great news is that no matter how complicated life becomes, God’s invitation for His children remains uncomplicated: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s astounding to think that the Creator of the Universe invites us to discover Him in a more authentic way through the practice of entering into solitude and silence. This is where we find Him most, when we—even if it’s for a short time—leave the busy world behind.
In her book “An Invitation to Solitude and Silence,” Ruth Haley Barton writes: “The invitation to solitude and silence is . . . an invitation to enter more deeply into the intimacy of relationship with the One who waits just outside the noise and busyness of our lives. It is an invitation to communication and communion with the One who is always present even when our awareness has been dulled by distraction. It is an invitation into the adventure of spiritual transformation into the deepest places of our being, an adventure that will result in greater and greater freedom and authenticity and surrender to God than we have yet experienced.”
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)
I have to admit that even though God’s invitation to solitude and silence is transformational and results in an adventure with God while giving me the kind of peace I can’t find anywhere else, there have been times when the thought of entering into it has felt unsettling and perhaps even a little scary. Maybe you have felt the same. But why? One reason is that entering that place means that we not only commune with God, but we are forced to commune with our own hearts. In her book Barton also writes, “In silence we become aware of inner dynamics we have not been able to avoid by keeping ourselves noisy and busy.” This can be difficult because we may become aware of things about ourselves we don’t like, as His Word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Honest communion with God in solitude and silence also means coming to the end of ourselves. It means admitting that those things we have tried to do to control our lives and satiate the thirst in our souls hasn’t worked. This leads us to a crisis of choice: we can stop running frantically from this promise of happiness to that one, from this false god to that one, and quietly settle ourselves at the Master’s feet, the only place where our souls can ever truly find rest. Or, we can continue to pretend that we aren’t desperate—and we’ll miss out on the transformative power of getting alone with God.
“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Prayer: “Lord, thank you that you are always inviting me into a more intimate relationship with you by spending time reading your Word and talking with you. Help me not to neglect this honor and gift even when it feels unsettling or scary. Help me not to live by any emotions that would keep me from drawing closer to you. Amen.”
Application: I encourage you to spend some time with the Lord today, talking with Him and reading His Word. You’ll be glad you did.
Related Readings: Luke 10:41–42; Romans 10:17; Psalm 119:105
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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