Deeper Than Mind or Heart
Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart faint. (Isaiah 7:4)
Take time to be still and quiet before God-not only to secure stIllness away from the world, but away from self and its energy. Let the Word and prayer be very precious. But remember, even these may hinder the quiet waiting. The activity of the mind in studying the Word or giving expression to its thoughts in prayer, and the activities of the heart with its desires and hopes and fears, may so engage us that we do not come to the still waiting on the All-Glorious One; our whole being is prostrate in silence before Him.
Though at first it may appear difficult to know how thus quietly to wait, with the activities of the mind and heart for a time subdued, every effort after it will be rewarded. We will discover that it grows upon us, and the little season of silent worship will bring a peace and a rest that give a blessing not only in prayer, but all day.
“It is good that a man should….quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord”(Lamentations 3:26). Yes, it is good. The quietness is the confession of our meekness. It will not be done with all our willing and running(Romans 9:16), with all our thinking and praying. We must receive it from God. It is the confession of our trust that our God will, in His time, come to our help- the quiet resting time in Him alone. It is the confession of our desire to sink into our nothingness and to let Him work and reveal Himself. Do let us wait quietly. In daily life, let there be, in the soul that is waiting for the great God to do His wondrous work, a quiet reverence, an abiding watching against too deep engrossment with the world. Then, the whole character will come to bear the beautiful stamp- quietly waiting for the salvation of God.
One of the Andy Griffith episodes provides a great example of how difficult it is to slow down and to wait quietly before God. The visiting preacher spoke on this very subject of slowing down and finding that place of rest and quiet before God. Sitting on the porch discussing the sermon, Andy and Barney begin to talk about having a concert in the town square. That leads to repairing the stage, mending the uniforms and a host of other activity. They go from just sitting on the porch to incredible amounts of work which produces quite a bit of frustration and pressure to get everything done. At the end of the episode, the visiting preacher is invited to come sit with them but he says he doesn’t have time, he has to rush back to New York.
I think this is most of us and this is what Andrew Murray is saying to us. We are so prone to be busy. Yes, we often complain that we’re too busy but we don’t know how to function if we’re not. Even in our reading the Word, it’s easy to feel that we must hurry to get our verses for the day read so that we can rush off to work or some activity. Often our lives are so busy that we find ourselves at the end of the day and haven’t taken time to pray so we rush through a few mumbled words just before we drop off to sleep only to awake and begin the process all over again.
I find it quite interesting that the world recognizes the need to find a quiet place and time. Those who are familiar with yoga and meditation understand this. The human soul, spirit, and body need a time of rejuvenation that comes from disengaging in activity.
God in His great wisdom invites us to come an sit at His feet. That’s the whole point of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus wasn’t saying that things didn’t have to be done. He just said that it was equally if not more important to spend time sitting at the feet of God and absorbing life from Him.
Have you noticed that your body is more energized after a good nights sleep? So it is with our mind and spirits. Just as our bodies need rest, so also does our minds. If you’re like me, it’s much easier to rest my body than it is my mind. Even when I lay down to sleep, shutting my mind down is sometimes almost impossible. There are days when I wake up more tired than when I went to bed because my mind kept its activity going. If we are ever going to find this rest of the mind, it must come from God. May I suggest that you in your prayers ask God to give you His rest. Ask Him to give you the grace to sit quietly before Him, to shut down your racing mind. Think of it as soaking your mind and spirit in the presence of God just as you would soak your tired body in a bath or a jacuzzi. I even suggest that you try some deep relaxation breathing.
I know this sounds a little out of the box but I’m fully aware that many of us are stressed to the max especially now in the pandemic that is in addition to all the other stressors of life. I believe it would be good for us all to “wait quietly for the salvation of God.”
Over the years due to my schedule and drive to get everything done, I’ve learned the secret of asking God for His rest. I’ve discovered that when you do so the short hours of sleep or the few minutes that have no activity can be greatly enhanced when God gives you His rest. He promises to do so. I’m sure that there are those who like me have many things that they feel must be done and they push themselves to the limit to get it all done and quiet time and rest time are pushed aside in the demands of life. Years ago I heard an old preacher say that as life became busier, he knew it required more time in prayer and waiting on God. He said that though it seemed contradictory that he had found that if he spent more time in prayer and waiting on God that he actually got more accomplished. Perhaps if we received more wisdom and knowledge from God before we begin to work, it might go smoother and we might accomplish more at the end of the day.
The need for rest and restoration has tremendous spiritual application. We are constantly being battled by Satan who desires to conquer and control our minds and spirits. To successfully repel his attacks we must come to battle rested. I’ve learned in my own walk with God that fatigue, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual will cause me to give way to temptation easier than when I’m fully rested and alert. We even tell those who are beginning the journey of grief to make no long term decisions for we understand that they are mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.
My prayer for all of us especially during the pandemic is that we will intentionally and deliberately take some time to shut down activity and sit at the feet of Jesus quietly meditating on Him and His Word so we may draw new strength from Him.
“Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still remains and is freely offered today, let us fear, in case any one of you may seem to come short of reaching it or think he has come too late. For we who believe [that is, we who personally trust and confidently rely on God] enter that rest [so we have His inner peace now because we are confident in our salvation, and assured of His power], just as He has said, “ As I swore [an oath] in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest ,” [this He said] although His works were completed from the foundation of the world [waiting for all who would believe]. Therefore, since the promise remains for some to enter His rest, and those who formerly had the good news preached to them failed to [grasp it and did not] enter because of [their unbelief evidenced by] disobedience, He again sets a definite day, [a new] “Today,” [providing another opportunity to enter that rest by] saying through David after so long a time, just as has been said before [in the words already quoted], “ Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts .” [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak about another day [of opportunity] after that. So there remains a [full and complete] Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness].”
Dr. John Thompson