After listening to all the distressing news reports from Orlando—the mass shooting, the murder of a Christian musician, and the drowning of a child at Disney World, I went to bed feeling deeply grieved. I also felt frustrated about my own unfinished tasks and disappointed that I had not accomplished my goals. In the middle of the night, I woke up with a flare up of chronic pain.
I thought about going to Facebook and sending out an S.O.S. plea to my friends, asking them for prayer support. I wondered how many of them would be checking Facebook at 3: 45 A. M.? Maybe a few, but I decided against that action. I could easily get involved in so many conversations that I would not get back to sleep. I thought about waking up my husband. Did I really want to wake him on Father’s Day morning with a desperate “I need help; comfort me” demand? Not really!
I could have poured out my heart in distress to the Lord. But, I did not even do that. I kept silent. I listened. Through Scriptures he brought to my mind, the Holy Spirit brought peace to my heart.
Had circumstances changed? Not at all; yet, in a prayer of silence, I had received God’s gift of peace. The prayer of silence is like the beauty of the quietness just before sunrise. It’s the calm anticipation and confidence that the sun will appear.
It’s okay to cry out to God when we’re distressed, to tell him how we feel; it can be emotionally healthy to do so. Many times, people in the Bible cried out to God, and he patiently listened to them. Yet, sometimes, talking too much can leave us emotionally drained. Like David, we need to learn how to stop crying. He describes what this means with this beautiful word picture:
“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.” (Psalm 132:2 NASB)
Children resting in their mothers arms are not disturbed and worried about what’s happening around them. They are confident that “Mother” (or maybe it’s “Father”) will protect them and meet all of their needs.
We need to remind ourselves, as David did, that when “The foundations of law and order have collapsed . . . the Lord still rules from heaven.” (Psalm 11:3-4 NLT) Sometimes, silence rather than intercession is the most appropriate prayer. This was the instruction that an Old Testament prophet gave to people experiencing great distress. “Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling.” (Zechariah 2:13 NLT)
Something to try this week:
Bring one of your distressing situations to God; instead of telling him how desperate you are, picture yourself resting in his loving arms; then, tell him that you love him, ask him what he would like to say to you, and quietly listen.
What a great reminder for me and this is so helpful in a situation we are facing right now. Thanks for your insights and what great analogies you used to help me understand how to be silent and to listen. I love reading your blogs and get so excited when I see a new one because I know that it is filled with Godly wisdom and comes from someone who is so helpful and so dedicated in her relationship with the Lord!! Love you Jane and thanks again!!
Thank you, Rose! I love you and appreciate your comments. My analogies and insights are answers to prayer.
Love this meditation, Jane. I love that word picture from Psalm 132. Sometimes our words are our striving to get God to do it the way we want. Allowing for silence is a type of surrender. Do I trust that God is a good father and that he knows how to take care of me, my child, or that difficult situation? A great reminder to be still and know that He is God.
Thank you for reading my post and commenting on it, Sandy. I like your phrase “sometimes our words are striving”. Striving is stressful; silence (in God’s presence) is calming.
Jane, thank you for your wisdom put to words. I have been trying to express this very thought to folks in my church, that the peace of God brings us comfort in the knowledge that he is the one in control, he is the meeter of my needs, that I have no need to clamor for justice to all those around me but to lift up my cry and my heart to him. His peace brings clear mindedness and presences that “shepherds me beyond my wants, beyond my needs, from death into life” (song i learned for a wedding service for a friend who was practicing catholic).
John, thank you so much for your comment. I’m happy to know that you found this post encouraging, and I praise God for the ability he’s given me to express wisdom. I love the lines of the song that you quoted..”shepherds me beyond my want, beyond my needs, from death into life”.
Thank you Jane for this beautiful reminder. I often just pour out my heart in words or ink and forget to listen to his peaceful whispers.
Sarah, thank you for your sweet response to my post. I appreciate your humble and teachable spirit.