Reflection: Psalm 46; Ecclesiastes 3:11-15; John 17.
Jim Elliott, the missionary martyr, once said, “The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. He will not allow quietness. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” In our fast paced world, it is well nigh impossible to escape the cacophony of noise, the tyranny of the urgent, and the endeavours of life around us, which we have wholeheartedly embraced into our lives, homes, communities, and churches. Our conditioning has been rapid and rampant, and we are swiftly passing on this interminable pace to an impressionable next generation. C. S. Lewis justifiably concluded that “we live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
Psalm 46 reassures us that in the midst of natural and political turmoil and bleakness, God becomes our refuge and strength. It is only within our Yahweh-Refuge that we will cease from our strivings and come to know the Lord of Hosts who has always been committed to us. This amazing ancient Hebrew canticle silences the frantic lifestyle of our present existence when we intentionally seek out the Divine-Stronghold for fellowship by listening, meditating, and thinking within the compass of our Creator God. For in that stillness with His Word, we learn to hear His voice clearly!
God’s plan for us is certainly well beyond this earthly existence as He has planted eternity in human hearts. Even though this sin-tainted world still holds a remarkable testimony and splendor to the Almighty’s creative wisdom, our fixation must shift beyond this domain as we are on a transitory journey with Him to our eternal heavenly home. Does it then not make sense to focus on our ongoing intimacy with our Saviour, even as we labour to fulfill His temporal purpose for this world? We do not belong to this world, any more than He did. This deliberate detachment and refocusing will test the very depth and contours of our convoluted minds and emotions, but the heartening consolation is that we walk it with our Lord Jesus Christ, who pioneered this journey (John 17).
Hence, our witness as we live in community with one another in our family, our church, and our world directly flows from our life in Christ. This Christ-light can only be nurtured by being in His Presence, firstly as individuals, then corporately: patiently and intently listening to His Word, meditating on it, and carefully thinking through its application.
How often and how much time should we sit at our Lord’s feet to listen, meditate, and think on His Word? If you are like me, then the answer is “most likely we barely scratch the surface with it!” The cares of this world will compete for our centre stage, but we are to determine our own priorities, or else others will determine them for us. After all, the imperative is ‘who’ or ‘what’ is the object of our devotion; this is THE eternal reality.
Learning from Eli, the High Priest, the youthful Samuel replied, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”