Sat here on my own in the prayer room, somewhere I have spent quite a bit of time this week.
There is something about the busyness of the world, and the busyness of our own internal heads that makes stopping and silence a place of very real and somewhat uncomfortable challenge.
Suddenly when we stop those issues, pains, insecurities are that are pushed to the back of our minds sudden can come to the forefront…
I know people say, and have said myself, I’ll keep busy so not to think about X Y or Z.
Yet the problem is ultimately these monsters in our heads can’t be out run… They bide their time and creep out eventually when at last we do stop.
In fact they often manage to pull the strings, getting us to do stuff, when we aren’t aware they are there.
I think this is why as a people we are scared of silence, space, retreat, wilderness because we know when we stop these things will appear and need to be face.
A proverb says “until you face your problem you can’t put it behind you!”
We have problem all had times to when dwelling on something with too much time has made us feel much, much, much worse…
We often have this idealised world of the desert and wilderness but the truth is the desert was an inhospitable place filled with jackles, wild animals and the burning sun…
It is also a place where we end up confronting ourselves, not as we like to think we are, but as we actually are… Perhaps the scariest of all desert animals.
I wish that the desert wasn’t a place of pain, but sadly I think it is, but I also think the desert is a place of healing and restoration.
The problem is we often go into the desert but forget to invite God into the experience with us, and to face the monsters with him. Sometimes we we pray through this stuff, it can feel like we are shouting at the wall “are you there God?”, “what do you say?”, “What should I do?” And sometimes these answers don’t come easily.
Yet I was thinking a good counsellor doesn’t jump is and break the silence but rather waits for you to find th words.
When I was at college one of the lecturers once said of Holy Spirit’s ministry and pastoral care that sometimes we need to wait for longer that we are comfortable with, after all we all love to fill an awkward silence… Yet it’s in the awkward silences that God often shows up.
And at our wits end, after the tears, we hear Gods still small voice.
After all our usual baggage, our greatest hits, have had their air time, often we break the pain barrier, we play the B side (if you are old enough to remember vinyl) and suddenly something happens there is a change, we tune more into the still small voice.
When we come to the end of ourselves we discover our Heavenly Father waiting for us.
So, although the call to the desert is painful, remember to go inviting the risen Christ in there with you, even in the silence know he hasn’t left, listen for that still small voice, tune in to him and listen, and there waiting in the desert is your Heavenly Father who loves you no matter what baggage of whatever toxicity has spilled out of you, you remain loved passionately by him and his feelings for you don’t deminish.
So in a world of busyness, let’s embrace silence and space, rather than living lives of distractions and avoidance, let’s face it all head on knowing we are held in the everlasting arms of love, knowing that despite it all he is faithful and good.
So, I’m putting down my iPad and am ready to meet you Lord…
Speak Lord for your servant is listening…