“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psa 46:10
Before Christmas, a dear friend at church asked me for an interview to add to the Christmas program video they were putting together. “We want to know what God has done for you in 2014 and what you’re looking forward to in 2015.” Now, I know that some folks have very genuine and heartfelt responses to that question. I had nothing. In that situation, the average religious person would have said something akin to, “Oh, God has been so good to me this year! He is truly all I need, and I just feel so blessed. I know that in this next year, He is just going to keep on pouring out those blessings. I am so excited to see what all He’s going to do!” That’s not what happened. Before I could throw any kind of “church-y” filter up, I said, “Nothing. I don’t feel like God has done anything for me in 2014 and I am not really looking forward to 2015 at all.” I am pretty sure my response took us both by surprise. I know it did me! I felt like I had spoken blasphemy in the House of God, so I nervously fumbled an apology, told her I didn’t guess I was the right person for the interview, and walked away feeling guilty for what I had said. The Bible does say, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” right?
A few weeks later, I sat watching the interview portion of the Christmas video and asked the Lord why I felt the way I did. Silence. “Maybe He’s mad at me,” I thought. “Father, forgive me for my lack of gratitude. Forgive me for not seeing Your Hand more in my life. Help me to see You more clearly. What is it you want done in and through me in 2015?” Silence. I thought about it more for several days. I prayed…a little. I repented…some. For the most part, I still just felt numb. “What is this, Lord? I don’t want my heart to be calloused to You.” Silence.
As I lay wide awake in bed last night, I thought about what the morning would bring…a new year, another chance – or nothing. “Lord, I don’t want this new year to be like the old one. What do I need to do differently so that I won’t be in this same spot this time next year?”
This time, I heard it, and in the hearing I understood where I’ve been. God was silent toward me this last year because I was NOT silent before Him. I talked to Him a lot this last year “on the go.” I prayed as I went, listened to my Bible cd’s as I cleaned or slept, talked to people about Him over the phone while I was driving from one spot to another, studied for the Bible study I teach while multitasking. Whenever I got still this last year, I wasted my stillness on social media, TV, newsfeeds, distractions. I don’t think I spent any time really being still before Him. It’s hard to hear that still, small voice if you’re not still yourself when you’re listening for it. You can’t draw strength from His presence if you’re fidgeting around with other things at the same time. You can’t get closer to Him if you’re not really focusing on Him and Him alone.
It’s not that He didn’t do anything for me this last year; I just wasn’t paying attention. So, I’m starting this new year with a prayer….”Help me, teach me, Lord, to be still so I will truly KNOW that YOU are God.”
Happy New Year.
(image courtesy of Brian Crawford)