Revelation. I was mesmerized by the story unfolding on our little television screen. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old but the movie about three children who saw a vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, grabbed more than my attention, it ignited a desire. The movie was called The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima and I don’t remember much about it. But I do remember the feeling of excitement, of anticipation, that God would reveal Himself to these children. I wanted desperately to be one of those children. I wanted to experience that revelation from God. My desire was so intense that I went to the big school field in front of our home. I knelt, and prayed, and looked to the heavens, waiting for the Lord to reveal Himself in the clouds, which is where the children of Fatima saw their vision. I never did see a vision nor was I able to do miracles, but the experience changed me nonetheless. That seed of desire for His revelation was planted in me and over the years it has grown into a burning bush.
Sometimes God’s revelation comes in His creation, as I marvel at the wings of a hummingbird while it floats suspended in space. Sometimes it comes in the whisper of the Holy Spirit guiding me away from danger. Sometimes it comes in the sweet face of a sleeping newborn baby. Oftentimes it comes to me as I am reading His words to us in the Bible. In whatever way God chooses to reveal Himself, I am eager and earnest in my desire for His revelation, not only in my life but in the lives of all His creation.
I am blessed to have opportunities to pray for others who are seeking God and my prayers include a plea to the Lord that He will reveal Himself to these souls in a powerful way. God promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with our whole beings. He wants to be found! He wants to reveal Himself, because through this revelation we will come to know Him better.
But we always have a choice. We can choose to look away. We can choose to harden our hearts. We can choose to allow the scales of pride to cover our eyes and blind us to His revelation. Or we can get on our knees and pray, look to the heavens and wait expectantly. We can allow the seed of desire for God’s revelation to grow into a burning bush. And we can trust that God, who loves us with an incomprehensible love, in His way and time, will be faithful to show up. Are you seeking God’s revelation? I pray you are!
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17
Be.“You buzzed? Is everything alright?” the nurse asked.
“Yes,” I said, “I was just wondering why you haven’t brought my baby in yet.”
“Well, she’s sleeping. You don’t want me to wake her, do you? It’s 3am, why don’t you get some rest.”
This was my first baby and I was so excited to just hold her. I had heard how babies never slept through the night as newborns and so I was sure the nurse was holding out on me, keeping my baby away so I would have time to rest. And that would be a logical assumption considering I had just delivered my sweet baby less than 24 hours ago. I know, silly me, I should have cherished the rest. But I just wanted to be with my baby so much! I was the same way when my second child was born.
My love for these precious newborn babies knew no bounds. Even though they were completely helpless, ever so demanding and didn’t make any real contributions to the family, I still loved them so much. I simply loved them for “being”.
In a world that places so much value on “doing” it is so hard to appreciate the joy of “being” – like the joy of being uniquely created by God and the joy of being still in His presence.
Do you believe it is possible to be loved and valued by God even if you weren’t able to contribute one meaningful thing to this world?
Pause before you answer. Think about it for a minute. Really search your soul on this one.
The answer is absolutely yes! God is love. He created you just to love you. And He simply wants you to love Him. Of course, He has other things for you to do here, but that doesn’t make you any more lovable or valuable. Intellectually you may agree with me, you may say, “Yes, of course!” But is that how you feel in your heart? Or do you struggle, like I have, with being okay with just being?
That is one of the challenges to the practice of the spiritual discipline of stillness, silence and solitude. It feels so unproductive. Shouldn’t we be doing something? We should at least be praying or praising. Why? Why is it not okay to just be before God and let Him love us, to let Him speak to our souls in that stillness? God loves us in the same way that we love a newborn, not for the great thoughts they think, or what they can contribute or do, but for just being. Maybe that is why, in scripture, He is continually encouraging us to be like children.
I decided to use a scripture verse as a way to bring my mind back to a place of quiet during my time of stillness with the Lord. Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God, seemed perfect to me.
It starts with be. It’s a good place to start. Just be.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
Stillness. “Do you want to join me in a day of stillness?” my daughter asked.
I knew that the company she works for allows employees to take a day of stillness, a day spent in prayer and reflection, in quiet community with the Lord. What could be better than a day of reflection spent side by side with my daughter, two sisters in Christ sharing a day of stillness? Sign me up!
The blankets were spread out on grass in the shadow of the National Cathedral. The sunshine was warm, the flowers bright, and the location quiet. We each had our share of books, our Bibles, different colored pens and journals ~ it takes a bit of gear for a day of stillness, or so I thought. I started my time of reflection reading God’s story, delving into some specific scriptures, and jotting my thoughts into my journal.
Then my attention turned to a book my daughter had about the spiritual discipline of solitude and silence, and I began reading. The author spoke of her journey, born out of a sense of despair and desperation, to seek God in solitude and silence. It wasn’t something she came to on her own ~ there was no divine revelation, no best-selling self-help book that inspired her on this journey. Instead, a Christian psychologist suggested that the answers to her struggles might be found in stillness before the Lord. And so she took the first step.
Why not? I thought. Why not try taking that first step? So I pushed aside the books, my pens, my journal, even my Bible. I closed my eyes and tried to just let my mind be still and quiet, to let myself settle, allow my soul the space to connect with God. Doesn’t that sound so poetic, so wonderful? You know what? I realized that I have a very noisy mind and I am not sure I even had five minutes of the silence, solitude and stillness I was seeking.
I could relate to the author’s struggle to find stillness in her busy life and in this noisy world that demands so much of our attention; but now I realize that even if I put myself in a quiet environment free from distractions, I can still be a victim of my own overly active mind. Now I understand why it is called a spiritual discipline ~ clearly it is going to take some practice! But I think it is time.
My soul yearns for a closer connection to God, for complete oneness with His spirit, for overwhelming peace that can only come from knowing God and knowing who He is on a deeper level. God has spoken to my soul in quiet times past in a way that produces nothing less than joy ~ in spite of all that was going on in and around me. Silence, solitude, stillness ~ call it what you will, it is a worthy spiritual discipline that I desire to incorporate into my life on a more consistent basis. I will take small steps to start this journey, just ten minutes of silence and solitude to begin, knowing that God will be faithful to me in the process. How about you? Will you join me on this path that will lead us closer to the Creator of, not only the universe, but our very souls? Let’s enter into God’s sanctuary together ~ He’s waiting for us!
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:28