Read: Psalm 46:1-11
Consider: It is clear from the gospels that Jesus went off to a solitary place to pray; not a place of loneliness, but a place where distractions were at a minimum. Even though he was God incarnate, he still needed to spend time with the Father.
Today’s reading in Psalm 46 encourages us to be still and know that he is God. Thinking about this, do you ever think about how long you might have to be still before you can sense God? Most people enter into a quiet time with God and fill it with Bible reading and prayer. There is nothing wrong with these in themselves, but only doing these means that we have missed the opportunity to be still (quiet) before God and let him speak to our hearts as we ponder his Word. It can also mean listening for God’s response to our prayers.
I have often thought about Psalm 46:10 and have come to the view that being ‘still’ is not inactivity, but expectant anticipation; excitement at what God might reveal or say. In addition to ‘knowing’ God (what he is like), it can also mean being convinced of who God is and what he has done and continues to do for us.
Some people refer to God’s silence as a time when they do not feel God’s closeness. This may be a result of things like traumatic events or bereavement. What we need to ask ourselves is whether God is really distant from us, or are our feelings of isolation a product of our circumstances. Elsewhere in the Psalms we read: The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Thankfully God tells us that when we are going through difficult times, he is right there with us.
Sometimes God’s silence and our feelings of isolation may be the result of some secret and wilful sin in our lives. In those circumstances, it is us that have drifted away from God and not that God who has left us. As James says in his letter: Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:8).
As Christians we can take encouragement from this verse from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
Don’t be afraid of the silences, listen for what God has to say to you from his Word. Listen with your heart, as well as with your ears. When you feel isolated from God, question yourself honestly if it could be the result of some secret sin that needs to be confronted and repented of. When doubting God’s closeness, do not rely on your feelings, but trust wholly on God’s promise to be near you through the blood of Christ.
Pray: Father, help us to trust you and what you have done for us in bringing us near through the blood of Christ. If there is any hidden sin preventing us knowing your closeness, may we confront it and seek your forgiveness. Enable us also to take time away from the busyness of life, to be still before you. Amen