“Invest time in the environments of silence and solitude in a community with the Trinity and loving followers of Jesus, and experience the Spirit grow good, beautiful fruit.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today –May 1, 2023
The Lord passed by [Elijah], and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12, NKJV
Silent retreats have become a staple for my spiritual development. Recently, five of us attended a three-day silent retreat… first timers for three of our accountability group. The theme for me was the same as the previous 15 or so silent retreats I have experienced…the still, small voice of Love reassuring me, “Boyd, I love you for who I have created you to be, My beloved son whom I have called and equipped to love others in My name. Stay secure in My love for you, and I will give you the capacity to care for and serve people. Rest. Relax. And let My love restore your soul. Even with what you control, I still create the outcomes. Trust Me. Love Me. Worship Me. Surrender all, submit all, and I will give you all you need.” As my soul was flush with faith, so was the experience of my friends, refreshed by God. Solitude and silence position us to hear God. Henri Nouwen wisely points out that Elijah needed reminding of how to hear the Lord:
Solitude is not a solution. It is a direction. The direction is pointed to by the prophet Elijah, who did not find Yahweh in the mighty wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the still, small voice; this direction, too, is indicated by Jesus, who chose solitude as the place to be with his Father. Every time we enter into solitude, we withdraw from our windy, earthquaking, fiery lives and open ourselves to the great encounter. The first thing we often discover in solitude is our own restlessness, our drivenness, and compulsiveness, our urge to act quickly, to make an impact, and to have influence; and often, we find it very hard to withstand the temptation to return as quickly as possible to the world of “relevance.” But when we persevere with the help of a gentle discipline, we slowly come to hear the still, small voice and to feel the gentle breeze, and so come to know the Lord of our heart, soul, and mind, the Lord who makes us see who we really are.
Indeed, so true… it’s like silence detoxes us from distractions to truly hear God’s heart.
“Stand silent! Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, TLB)!
Perhaps a sabbatical from all screens is a needed next step in your desire for fewer distractions and more awareness of the divine around you. Some families turn off their phones for 24 hours on the weekends to be alone with the Lord and to be engaged with each other. Solitude at home is an effective way to have fun, work together on a common experience like outdoor projects, and a helpful way to encourage alone time with the Lord…start with 30 minutes. And when you reconvene, share how you experienced the Lord’s love in creation or just sitting in silence. A family who makes silence and solitude a rule of life discovers a helpful rhythm of rest. Intimate love thrives in blocks of generous time for relational spontaneity and to really know each other.
Consider as well silence and solitude as you abide in the community of the Father as the Gardener of your life, the Son as the Vine for spiritual nourishment, and the Spirit as the fruit producer. Your divine Gardener has the master landscaping plan for your life. He knows when you are ready for the next area of character growth…wait on Him for opportunities. Jesus is the source of your salvation…not only from the penalty of sin but the power to overcome sin. And the Holy Spirit in due season will bud, bloom and flourish the fruit of the Spirit. Invest time in the environments of silence and solitude in a community with the Trinity and loving followers of Jesus, and experience the Spirit grow good, beautiful fruit. As Nouwen says, “persevere with a gentle disciple,” and in time, you will taste and see that the Lord is your Lover, good and great!
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8, NLT)!
Heavenly Father, lead me in a gentle discipline of stillness, silence, and solitude through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider a three-day silent retreat to reset your relationship with the Lord.
Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Be Unto Me
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