Kick me in the gut.

Day 25 from Andrew Murray’s Waiting on God is one of the reasons it is taking me what will probably be two years to get through a 31 day devotion book. I will be chewing on this one and praying through his words for quite some time. It’s entries like this that shift my paradigm and way of life. That sounds dramatic, but it is true and has proved to be true in his writings.

I have pasted day 25 in below, although you can find the entire pdf at this link. I am going to enter my thoughts in red and I will bold the statements that kicked me in the gut.

DAY 25. QUIETLY

“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”—Lam. 3:26.

“Take heed, and be quiet: fear not, neither be fainthearted.”(Isa. 7:4) “In quietness and in confi- dence shall be your strength.”(Isa. 30:15) Such words reveal to us the close connection between quietness and faith, and show us what a deep need there is of quietness, as an element of true waiting upon God. If we are to have our whole heart turned toward God, we must have it turned away from the creature, from all that occupies and interests, whether of joy or sorrow.

God is a being of such infinite greatness and glory, and our nature has become so estranged from Him, that it needs our whole heart and desires set upon Him, even in some little measure to know and receive Him. Everything that is not God, that excites our fears, or stirs our efforts, or awakens our hopes, or makes us glad, hinders us in our perfect waiting on Him. The message is one of deep meaning: “Take heed, and be quiet;” “In quietness shall be your strength;” “It is good that a man should quietly wait.”

Wow. This is so true. It makes ridding things in my life an easier choice, but my flesh still cries out for things. Good things, bad things, sinful things, God glorifying things. In this I can see that I find things more beautiful than God (whether the things are good or bad). I find things that I think provide better and fulfill better than God. Things that will help me relax. Things that will bring me joy. Things that will glorify the kingdom. Things, things, things.  If I fully understood who God was it wouldn’t be a choice for me. I would choose God over any thing. Good or bad. It’s crazy that we can experience mighty, outrageous things from God. See Him work. Receive grace and salvation and yet, not be stammered by who He is.

Murray is dead on when he says that our nature has become so estranged from Him.  Drastic times calls for drastic measures people!  This life is in preparation to meet the Holy God. And even now, I have the opportunity to mingle, to commune, to interact with the Holy Trinity. It saddens me that I would actually struggle with a choice. I think often of Martin Luther and how extreme he was when reading and thinking through this writing. Much of what he did seems legalistic to me and much of how he lived live seemed drastic and out of touch from reality and his culture. But….he had his eye on a reward and regardless of what I think about some of his actions, his heart doesn’t appear to be one of legalities, rather one that thirsts, longs, and will do anything he can to receive Jesus as much as he can on this side of earth. And as it appears….he did walk in complete intimacy few will know.

How the very thought of God in His majesty and holiness should silence us, Scripture abundantly testifies.

“The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Hab. 2:20).

“Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God” (Zeph. 1:7).

“Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord; for He is raised up out of His holy habitation” (Zech. 2:13).

Being silenced before God is not something that I understand, practice well or have experienced in a mighty way. In the last six months God has laid it on my heart, but it “feels” so much better for me to be active in prayer, reading the word, journaling, and getting my hands on as much equipping material as I can in order to understand and serve well. In the last 3 days since I read this I have been praying for God to humble me. To show me and to move me.

As long as the waiting on God is chiefly regarded as an end toward more effectual prayer, and the obtaining of our petitions, this spirit of perfect quietness will not be obtained. But, when it is seen that the waiting on God is itself an unspeakable blessedness, one of the highest forms of fellowship with the Holy One, the adoration of Him in His glory will of necessity humble the soul into a holy stillness, making way for God to speak and reveal Himself. Then it comes to the fulfilment of the precious promise, that all of self and self-effort shall be humbled: “The haughtiness of man shall be brought down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isa. 2:11)

Ummm….wow. This, my friends is power and conviction within a statement that evokes change in my soul. Fellowship with the Holy one. Now…on earth.  Creating a way for God to speak, to reveal himself. That, my friends, kicks me in the gut. As I have been thinking about this the past three days I am reminded of the time Moses’ face shone because he talked with God (Exodus 34:29-35).  I have also been thinking on the fact that we have an opportunity as humans to interact with the Trinity. I am one with Christ because of His life, death and resurrection- even now He sits at the right hand of God giving me direct access to God.  This excites me. This motivates me to incorporate quiet waiting on God. This motivates me to do things that don’t seem like that big of a deal in order to foster that lifestyle- watch less t.v., spend less time on FB, Sabbath regularly, create a schedule that fosters health in regards to my body- food, exercise, time management. Consider things I never thought I would consider like walking in Singleness instead of marriage (it’s not my desire, but I am willing for the sake of having more time and directed focus on Christ as intimately as possible).

Let everyone who would learn the art of waiting on God remember the lesson: “Take heed, and be quiet;” “It is good that a man quietly wait.” Take time to be separate from all friends and all duties, all cares and all joys; time to be still and quiet before God. Take time not only to secure stillness from man and the world, but 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, 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 not prostrate in silence before Him. Though at first it may appear difficult to know how thus quietly to wait, with the activities of mind and heart for a time subdued, every effort after it will be rewarded; we shall find 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 the day. (Is. 2:11)

This. is. difficult.  It takes intentionality and I have no idea how this happens. It will be difficult, but I am resolved, by God’s grace and mercy, to let the Spirit have His way in this over my life. I think that for me I will start to incorporate this in my Sabbath’s.  For a couple of years now I have tried to secure Sunday’s as the day I practice a Sabbath. It is a time that I pull away from the world. Ideally, I have my phone on silent. I take time to spend most of the day in the word, journaling and in prayer. I like to incorporate community in the day so ending it with the 7:15 church service has been great! I will also try to do things that stir my affections for the Lord like blogging, cooking, crafts, being outside and such.  I am going to start praying for God to show me new ways to Sabbath (when did this word become a verb??). I get overwhelmed because I am an extremist but I am encouraged when Murray says that every effort will be rewarded. Start small.  I have seen that happen in my life in regards to prayer and fasting. I was also struck when he said to separate from the Word and from prayer…from self and my energy.  The Word and prayer are VERY loved in my life. I love spending time doing both. My flesh also feels productive in those things. This will be a very good practice. As far as separating me from self and my energy, I have no idea what this looks like. I think it will birth out of the practice of this disipline. Another thing a friend encouraged me to do while I was in college was to practice times of silence in the little things like leaving the radio off in the car.  It, for the most part, is a habit that has become something I don’t even think about anymore. I will be four hours into a road trip and realize I haven’t turned on the radio?!?!?!  I also don’t have background noise when I am at home.  It actually drives me crazy to just have the tv on or music playing. I also use white noise to drown out other noises to create a form of silence. I am open to other ideas!

“It is good that a man should quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Yes, it is good. The quietness is the confession of our impotence, that with all our willing and running,(Rom 9:16) with all our thinking and praying, it will not be done: we must receive it from God. It is the confession of our trust that our God will in His time come to our helpthe quiet resting 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, and the whole character will come to bear the beautiful stamp: Quietly waiting for the salvation of God.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God!” 

Also, lately, a desire for an understanding and the active work of the Holy Spirit has been stirring and growing inside of me. I want to understand the Theology behind the Holy Spirit in order to  align with God in such a way that His power can flow through me. Flow through me in dreams, visions, prophecy, tongues, interpreting tongues, healing all for the sake of the Gospel and for the delight of walking in such intimacy with God. As I have been thinking on this quiet waiting I believe that this is a means to have this type of growth in my life.  I believe this will foster a living relationship with the Spirit.

So….there it is. A kick in the gut. Great stuff. I am excited to grow. I would love feedback, ideas and resources.

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