Revelation 3: 20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Since writing my last Unwrapping Hope post on the Active Pursuit of Hope, I’ve been meditating on the importance of reverent, responsive silence in seeking hope. Throughout the Bible, God calls us into this active silence: in the call to the Sabbath, in His response to Job, where He lists the wonders of His powers stunning Job into awestruck stillness, in His call to live out our faith in “repentance and rest” and “quietness and trust” (Isiaiah 30: 15, NIV):
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
And perhaps the most vivid depiction of this calling is found in 1 Kings 19: 11 – 12 (The Message), as the LORD reveals Himself to Elijah:
Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
He’s standing at the door knocking, His voice a “gentle and quiet whisper” and yet, like The Woman in the Song of Songs, I’m quick to respond with (Song of Songs 5: 3, The Message):
“But I’m in my nightgown – do you expect me to get dressed? I’m bathed and in bed – do you want me to get dirty?”
I respond with noise, with excuses, with a busy disposition and yet He stands there calling (Song of Songs 5: 2, The Message):
“Let me in, dear companion, dearest friend, my dove, consummate lover! I’m soaked with the dampness of the night, drenched with dew, shivering and cold.”
His still, loving voice calls me, in my husband’s face, yearning for me to stop and listen, really listen, in my girls beckoning me to sit and play, in my friends and extended family waiting for me to pick up the phone, send that message or just come sit beside them. His “gentle and quiet whisper” reverberates within me, as I “busy” myself with the seen world of approval-seeking, and fail to acknowledge the unseen cries for prayer from His Broken Body. And then, finally, I stop to listen and He’s gone. All I hear is the breaking of my own heart and all I feel is the yearning growing, widening and deepening. And so, finally, I seek in earnest, reminding myself that “I am my lover’s and my lover is mine.” (Song of Songs 5: 3, The Message)…and then, what Grace turns toward me…
Just as the disciples who fell asleep, when Jesus called them to support Him moments before He would be called forth to the path of the Cross, He graciously shakes me awake to grow, widen and deepen my yearning in His departure. It is then, I turn toward the Hope He holds out to me and enter the silence to listen intently. I hear the gentle and quiet whisper return, carried by a pain that pierces my “busy”, non-responsive heart, beckoning me back into His Presence to commune in reverent, active, responsive silence.
Prayers depart the lips that had forsaken the call to pray ceaselessly, rather than in intermittent spells.
Lord forgive my failure to behold You and incline my sinful heart toward You, to enter the silence, to heed your gentle and quiet whisper with a reverant, responsive heart. Let me forsake the seen distractions, to answer Your Knocking, a knocking that calls me to actively pursue Your Way, the quiet Way Beckoning me into the Unseen, Realm of Powerful Hope.
Surely if ever any generation needed the preaching-’ Be still and let God speak’- we need it. Even religious men are so busy with spreading or defending Christianity, that they have little time, and many of them less inclination, for quiet meditation and still communion with God. Newspapers, and books, and practical philanthropy, and Christian effort, and business, and amusement, so crowd into our lives now, that it needs some resolution and some planning to get a clear space where we can be quiet, and look at God.
Note: The blog post of Debbie Barrow Michael’s that I link to shares of the passing of her beloved son into the realms of Heaven. Several months ago, I came upon her book, But the Greatest of these is Love, about her journey to adopt, as she heeded God’s call to LOVE and then came to read further on her blog.
My heart ached reading of the struggles her son faced and so I committed to pray for him, which I did, fervently so. But then, as time passed I forsook the call to prayer, only returning to it in patches here and there. And then, last night, I returned to the blog to read of his passing…and I sat there weeping. It was a wake-up call. Not because I believe my prayers could have saved him from earthly death, but because I had chosen other earthly activities above the call to wrap the Body of Christ in our prayers, failing to heed His beckoning voice.
If you, too struggle, like me, to remain faithful in prayer, you may like to download the Mobile Knee app. It is this app that reminded me to pray for Roma and his family and to check up on him, as I prepared to enter a prayer to its pages to remind me to faithfully pray, where I had failed to previously.