Years ago I turned to my wife and asked, “What is it like being married to a guy who does not wait for God to open doors but tends to kick them in?” She replied, “I have kind of gotten used to it!” The truth hurts but everyone needs someone who loves them enough to speak it.
And so it is with many of us . . .
In Exodus 14 the children of Israel had left Egypt, and the Red Sea was before them as the Egyptian army closed in from behind. Scripture says they were terrified and cried out to the Lord for His help.
Have you been there before?
Can you relate to not being sure what to do or how to handle a certain situation?
Ever felt like you were in completely over your head?
As their leader, Moses tells the Israelites not to be afraid but to watch and see God’s deliverance. In Exodus 14:14 he says, “The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.” Wow! There’s another challenge . . . remaining quiet.
Another example of a difficult-to-follow verse us is Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
And another is Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
Don’t be scared. Be quiet. Be still.
God’s life-altering command to us in Psalm 46:10 is to be still and know that He is God. I’m not really good at being still and would much rather be busy and active. You know you need to make things happen, and you are either a part of the problem or the solution. Yet there are several biblical examples where God speaks loudest when we are our quietest. He spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice while He was in a quiet place. It has been well said that “quiet is the think tank of the soul.” It is far too easy to become human doings rather than human beings.
How good are you at listening? Stillness gives you the opportunity to slow down, be still, then hear from God in the silence. Resist the temptation to speak, listen closely without distractions, and be ready for God’s direction and instruction. Silence is not the practice of waiting in a passive posture but listening in a proactive manner. If you’re ready to listen and pray a very dangerous prayer then pray as Samuel did:
“Speak (Lord), for your servant is listening.” Be still and get alone with God and His Word.
In Whisper: How To Hear the Voice of God Mark Batterson says, “If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is the key. If you want the Spirit of God to fill you, be still.” Stillness and silence are the biggest challenges to being able to retreat with God where we can be encouraged and refreshed by Him. We all need that quiet place where we can rest in Him. For prayer to truly be communication with God requires not only talking with Him but also listening to Him.
The psalmist reminds us in 84:10 that, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else.” Batterson also says, “If we want to do more by doing less, we need to get into God’s presence. It’s our most efficient use of time by a factor of a thousand. And quiet is the key.”
Elijah, Isaiah, Paul, John, and many others heard the Lord’s voice because they were in His presence. Hearing from the Lord demands a quiet place of solitude, stillness, and silence.
Waiting requires a willingness to wait on the Lord.
Waiting requires trusting God’s timing and plan.
Waiting requires believing He is in time, on time, every time.
Waiting requires patience and trust even when He seems to be silent.
Although you may not be good at waiting and would rather make things happen on your own, you must see the wisdom of seeking His instruction and not moving forward without Him. Mark Batterson continues, “Silence is the difference between sight and insight. Silence is the difference between happiness and joy. Silence is the difference between fear and faith.” Silence could well be the difference between what you can accomplish and what God can accomplish. Often God’s instructions won’t make sense when He calls on us to wait, be still, or go the extra mile, but you can always trust His voice.
It has been said that, “The devil wants you to worry about what’s next so you can’t enjoy what’s now.” The devil is a liar. Stop worrying. Focus on God and enjoy every single day He has given.” In Psalm 27:4 David reminds us that even when the enemy is closing in, “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord.”
Hear God’s voice through the challenges given to us in His written Word. Be still. Be quiet. Be alone with Him in silence. He tells us to seek Him, abide in Him, rest in Him, trust Him, talk with Him! Praying and having communion with God is a two-way street: You pray, God listens, and God speaks when you’re ready, which requires stillness and silence!