by Kari Bartkus
God, silence isn’t always easy for us. It’s downright uncomfortable at times.
It opens the door for an intimacy we’re not sure we’re ready for. It forces us to come face to face with the things we keep shoving away.
And so we keep moving. Keep talking. Keep doing. All in an effort to hold the stress, the tension, the pain at bay.
It’s like constantly shoving the Jack-in-the-Box back down so he can’t pop up and startle us. No, God, You don’t mean to jump out and catch us unaware. But the worries, the fears, the uncertainties . . . that’s what we don’t want to pop up and steal the joy from our day.
Because when we’re still, those things often rise to the surface. And we’re not sure we can handle them today. We’re not sure we even want to acknowledge their presence.
Yet, God, we can’t deny that when we grow quiet, when we still the thoughts and worries inside our souls, when we calm the sounds we hear around us, Your presence is more pronounced.
Instead of fear, we experience love. Because Your perfect and abundant love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Instead of worry, we experience peace. Because Your peace is beyond anything we can understand, and it guards our hearts and minds from the worries that weigh us down (Philippians 4:6-7).
Instead of shame, we experience forgiveness. Because Your forgiveness has rescued us from all the shame, all the guilt, all the sorrow. You have brought us into Your very presence and we stand before You without a single fault (Colossians 1:13-14, 22).
You, God, have the power to quiet the raging seas and silence the shouts of the nations (Psalm 65:7). And You have the power to quiet the lies raging in our minds and to silence the constant shouts of accusations we hear from the enemy.
The quiet is designed to be a special place with You.
Indeed, Your presence, Lord, becomes a safe place for us to experience all the things we keep running from—to give ourselves the space we need to actually name them and reflect on them—and then to give them to You in surrender.
Together, with You, in these moments of silence, we choose to plant seeds of hope, seeds of truth, seeds of hope—and we plant them with determination, boldness, grit. We water them with our tears, perhaps, but over time, in the quiet place, we nurture them to grow so they will burst out with new life. Not like the Jack-in-the-Box, startling us with his surprise entrance, but instead, the seedlings bravely breaking through the darkness of the ground and revealing Your glory for all to see.
Just like the sun pierces through the cloud-filled sky.
Just like You emerged from the tomb with radiant life.
God, we are so thankful for Your patience as we figure this quiet thing out. Thankful You wait for us. Because You are eager to share what is on Your heart. Because You delight in relationship with us and it’s worth it to You to wait until we’re quiet enough to hear Your whispers.
May we not dally long, God.
May we, instead, respond to Your invitation to us: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place” (Mark 6:31).
Let us run to You and then linger in Your presence—
eagerly seeking out a moment of quiet in the tiny breaks throughout our day,
intentionally calling to mind the promises and hope You speak over us,
confidently resting in the truth of Your love.
And God, may we do this not just on our own, but with other brothers and sisters in the faith. May we dare to enter the quiet place together, to come before You and wait to see what You have to share with us today.
Let us wait quietly before You, God, with all that we are, for our hope is in You. (from Psalm 62:5).
Article first appeared in Volume 14 of Gritty Faith
|Seeing far too many people go through hardship alone, Kari Bartkus became determined to show up and be present when those around her were hurting. Through her work at Love Does That, she serves as a spiritual director to hurting Christian women using a modern-day letter-writing approach perfect for those drawn to quiet spaces and written words. Learn more at www.lovedoesthat.org