Monday, June 24, 2013

forsaking busy and embracing quiet (or how we see God move on our behalf)


We’ve been doing. We’ve been busy. It’s really been unavoidable, as recital week took over our time and visiting family begged for our attention. We were busy doing good stuff. And we were loving every minute of it. But in the middle of it I found myself in a quiet moment outside, prayerful and waiting. I was drawn to Isaiah 30 and compelled, I read it over and over and over again. 



I was started to realize and remember anew that there is a connection between stillness and hearing God’s voice.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, “No, we will flee on horses. Therefore you will flee! You said, “We will ride off on swift horses. Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. 
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30: 15-21)

Though we know busy is not the thing we rush it anyway. We pursue duty, obligation, or service. We fill our lives with the noise of doing and it becomes so loud that we cannot hear that still small voice. We pursue busy and God steps aside, he allows us to have our way. Just as he did with the children of Israel so long ago. 

“They slighted the directions God gave them, not only how to secure themselves and make themselves safe, but how to compose themselves and make themselves easy; they would take their own way” (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary).

Though God says our strength comes from quiet dependence on him, we often say no. Our strength comes from what we do. And God says okay, but we reap the consequences. He told the Israelites they would live in constant terror; and today we face nagging anxiety, unnamed fears and stress by the bushel. 

We know the way but we do not chose it. And we suffer for it. It may not seem obvious but the enemy is subtle and tricky and traps us in the lie that we can do things on our own. We can secure ourselves. 

But quietness and trust in God need to be our strength. 

In this passage the people of God had chosen their own way. They pursued their idols and worshipped their own ideas. Their independence and security was not on God but on their external conditions. Even though God promised abundance they were obstinate. The people were guilty of looking to other nations instead of God for their protection and defense. 

Though we might not exactly be doing that we are just as guilty of idolatry. The people idolized their freedom, their independence, and their safety-so they took refuge in what they could see. Today we fill our lives with obligation, with busy, with duty-are we any less guilty of idolatry? We trust in our standing at the local church, we earn our merit badges of faith. But we know, somewhere deep down, hazy and nearly forgotten that there is a better way. Even though we often chose the way of tradition. And God says okay, just as he did to his dear children so long ago. They said they would ride on horses, and ride they did-though they rode in terror as they fled opposing armies. They choose their own way, and they paid the price. 

Busy is never the answer. What this Christ follower needs is relationship and nearness to Jesus. But distraction comes and we settle for doing instead of being. All along the answer is simple: In repentance (or turning back) is where true rest is found. Quietness and trust is what strengthens us, and the results are glorious. For longs to be gracious to his people, he gets up to show us compassion. 

Do we see that? He rises, he moves on our behalf to us his compassion. He does it not because of what we’ve done, not because we’ve been so busy for him. He moves simply because he love us. When we cry out to him, not our busy lives, he will answer and his voice will lead us. But it is born out of quiet dependance, sweet confidence in Jesus. At the core it comes from relationship. It does not come from religion, or duty, or even church attendance. It all comes from relationship. 


2 comments:

  1. thanks for this word of wisdom gina. I love that passage in Isaiah 30 so much. your words are a great reminder. just tonight I told kevin that I felt overwhelmed and doomed to fail as I looked at the number of unpacked boxes looming, in the midst of summer with my kids all up in my business every second! I have been neglecting my quiet time, particularly in the morning. summer has jostled our whole routine. but. you've encouraged me to get my priorities straight. the boxes can wait.

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    Replies
    1. I know what you mean-summer is wonderful, but it does change the order of our days. Even then, though, and maybe even more so I know we need that Jesus time-I am truly half the woman I should be when I miss that quiet with God.

      Praying for you today, that you'll find moments of peace and rest in Jesus and that he'll multiply the time for you so that you can bust through those boxes as well!

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