This quote is taken from Streams in the Desert. I visit this devotional year after year. Not every day every year, mind you, but often enough to say I have used it for years. In fact, Linda Werner gave it to me a long time ago because she did not care for it. I on the other hand, can never get too much of it. I like the older edition without the updated language. You can read it for free online at https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/streams-in-the-desert-september-18th.html
There is hardly ever a complete silence in the soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear the whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
–F. W. Faber
So this would bring up the question have you made an effort to quiet the noise, hurry, and distractions of life? Are you truly TRYING to listen or giving up after a half-hearted attempt. There is nothing simple about this.
Just imagine, instead of the 1,000 thoughts of criticism and judgement that go on in our brains, there is the constant whispering of God, if we would only make it our practice to turn the volume down on the other noise and listen!
The buddhists call the incessant noise “monkey mind.” We each have chattering minds. The Gibbon Island at the Cincinnati Zoo is a perfect example of what goes on in our brains without the discipline of the Lord. Here is a less than 2 minute example!
The practice of stilling the sounds of the world that clamor for your attention can create a greater capacity for hearing the whisperings of God. Remember He is “ALWAYS WHISPERING TO US.” In 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NRSV)we are told to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We can ask for God’s help and strength to quiet the noise and listen more closer for His voice daily.
The sources of the noise like chattering, sometimes screaming monkeys all clamor for our attention. Then imagine the peace of God which passes all understanding. I would rather dwell in His peace. So I make the effort to daily quiet that monkey mind. When it is really noisy I try to remember to make the effort more than once a day.
Another selection from Anchor Devotional, Volume 44, Number 9, written by Brad S. Swope, dated September 12, entitled “Slow Down.”
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV
“Princeton Seminary conducted an experiment where students were asked to prepare a talk on the Good Samaritan and then share it around campus. Some were told to hurry as they were already late. Some were told they had just enough time. The rest were told they had time to spare. In the middle of the campus, each student would encounter a bystander who appeared injured and asked for help.It won’t surprise you to learn who stopped to help: 63% of those “not in a hurry,” 45% of those “on time,” and just 10% of those “in a hurry.”
“Like the students in the study, when we feel pressured by time, we’re less likely to slow down and respond to people’s needs. It was Moses who wrote Psalm 90, saying that while most of us will live to be 80 or so (v.10), the days quickly pass away. He asked the Lord to make us glad in the days we have been given (v. 15), to let our tasks be established by Him (v.17).
“The Lord is patient and gentle, never too hurried for you. May knowing that give you wisdom for how you approach your day.
“If you feel constantly rushed, consider how you might relieve the time pressure you have built into your day.”
In the hurry sickness of America we often put more pressure upon ourselves to accomplish and get done! Our relationships suffer from that constant driving pressure. Slow down, America.
“I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place.” Or another translations “I will look on quietly in My dwelling place.”
Lord, You teach that we are made in the Father’s image and we are to learn to become like You, our Savior. I have studied many passages about being still, but perhaps this is the first time I have been struck that my Father is still. Hudson Taylor wrote about the Lord not being worried or perturbed, but this is likely the first time I have noticed this Old Testament passage to that effect. Or is it because I am so eager for answers today? In Isaiah You were still and just beheld what was happening until You were ready to act. Oh I fail miserably at that! Being still and unperturbed….yikes I have so much to learn and a long, long way to go if I am ever to be like You in this.
Yes, July 15th I saw the Orthopedic Surgeon regarding the shoulder I injured in late June. The MRI results and test for my range of motion show a frozen shoulder. I had thought “Frozen Shoulder” was due to not moving it. Well, I was so wrong. Frozen shoulder is now considered an autoimmune disease that can set in after a fall. Doc explained it as a bell curve. You fall, then you get progressively less movement and more pain in that shoulder, hit a plateau, then slowly recover. No surgery unless there is no improvement after 6 months. No physical therapy for several months. Sling for comfort and pain meds to help with sleep. Cortisone injection in shoulder capsule during my appointment. No fun! but Lamaze breathing certainly helped. This morning I still have frozen shoulder. I suppose I must rest for many more days to come. Doc said the worst are the patients that think they have to DO MORE to get better. He assured me this will resolve itself, but it will take months, not weeks or days.
Also have been listening to my old music collection of songs. Came upon this Vineyard Music song.
I was so glad the You Tube video has the words for you! Below is the link to Streams in the Desert that so inspired this dry soul as I waited to see the doctor. A friend gave me a copy almost forty years ago. She did not like the wording and thought I might. She was absolutely right. I also love that the Lord can move me to the wrong date when I need to read something from Him! I doubt that Mrs. Cowan had any idea the impact that her collection would have to move so many people for years and years after publication in 1925! https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/streams-in-the-desert-july-17th.html
I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place (Isaiah 18:4, RV).
“Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.
“Is not this a marvelous conception of God–being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.
“There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually.
“Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived. –Daily Devotional Commentary
“Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.”
Meditative quiet was almost impossible for me yesterday as I waited to find out if I was facing surgery or what. Today I am more quiet, but still rattled by the diagnosis, injection, pain, etc. Each day will get easier for me to move back to that prayerful practice of turning off my anxious mind and becoming more like the Trinity, beholding all things, patiently watching life unfold. I do believe that the practice I have participated in thus far helped me through the anxiety of the unknown. Now to radically accept this resting and slowing down for healing. God knows, I have a long way to go!
As I child I remember lying in bed on summer mornings and hearing this lovely bird call me to come outside. It was a glorious way to wake up! And then I rarely heard it again, even though as an adult we lived close to the Cincinnati Nature Center for 30 years.
When we moved to our current neighborhood on the edge of the “Green Space” I heard it once. Oh what joy transported me back to Woodford Road 1957, 58, 59, etc.! I was literally running to each window to try to discover the location of the elusive singer.
The Audubon Society says: “This is the only native quail in the east. Its whistled bob-white! call is a familiar sound in spring in farmland and brushy pastures. The birds are heard more often than seen; although not especially shy, they often keep within dense low cover. During fall and winter, bobwhites live in coveys, averaging about a dozen birds. At night they roost on the ground in circles, tails pointed inward, heads pointed out.”
And then they report the bad news: “The Northern Bobwhite has disappeared from much of the northern part of its range, and has declined seriously even in more southern areas. The causes for these declines are not well understood. At northern edge of range, many may be killed by unusually harsh winters, but this does not explain its widespread vanishing act. “
I enjoy seeing the Gambel’s Quail when we visit New Mexico. As entertaining as they are, they cannot replace the nostalgia brought by that Bobwhite call from my childhood.
Once during my prayer time I heard: “You are just as loved as when that bird sang during your childhood. You are still a kept child who can rest in Jesus, trust Him, glorify Him, invite Him in and know His love – always.”
The Word says in Zephaniah 3:16-17 (NIV2011) On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
God will rejoice over you with singing! Relax and listen for His song each day.
Bob asked if I was going to say MORE about getting quiet and meditation. Then I read this entry June 30 from Streams in the Desert. The author of this selection is A. B. Simpson. Mrs. Charles E. Cowman frequently put his writings in her collection of devotionals.I decidedly not to work so hard on the blog this entry, but to share these marvelous insights with you.
There was silence, and I heard a still voice. JOB 4:16
A score of years ago, a friend
placed in my hand a book called True
Peace. It was an old medieval message, and it had but one thought –
that God was waiting in the depths of my being to talk to me if I would only
get still enough to hear His voice.
I thought this would be a very easy
matter, and so I began to get still. But I had no sooner commenced than a perfect
pandemonium of voices reached my ears, a thousand clamoring notes from without
and within, until I could hear nothing but their noise and din.
Some were my own voices, my own
questions, some my very prayers. Others were suggestions of the tempter and the
voices from the world’s turmoil
In every direction I was pulled and pushed and greeted with noisy acclamations and unspeakable unrest. It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them and to answer some of them; but God said,
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Then came the conflict of thoughts for tomorrow, and its duties and cares; but God said, “Be still.”
And as I listened, and slowly
learned to obey, and shut my ears to every sound, I found after a while that
when the other voices ceased, or I ceased to hear them, there was a still small
voice in the depths of my being that began to speak with an inexpressible
tenderness, power and comfort.
As I listened, it became to me the voice of prayer, the voice of wisdom, the voice of duty, and I did not need to think so hard, or pray so hard, or trust so hard; but that “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit in my heart was God’s prayer in my secret soul, was God’s answer to all my questions, was God’s life and strength for soul and body, and became the substance of all knowledge, and all prayer and all blessing: for it was the living GOD Himself as my life, my all.
It is thus that our spirit drinks in the life of our risen Lord, and we go forth to life’s conflicts and duties like a flower that has drunk in, through the shades of night, the cool and crystal drops of dew. But as dew never falls on a stormy night, so the dews of His grace never come to the restless soul. A.B.Simpson
Practice being still and find His voice within you. It is not impossible. Saint Francis is credited with teaching that thoughts during prayer are like birds in a tree. “You cannot keep them from landing, but you can keep them from nesting there.” I am aware that many others are also credited with teaching this. The more important point is, can you practice getting quiet for yourself?