Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2013!! It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie! Anyway, as I reflected back on 2012, I realize it was probably one of the "calmest" years I've had as a writer. I didn't travel for business at all, no conferences, no book signing tours, no research excursions. Plus I only had one book release, when normally I have two. All that to say that I spent a lot of time at home, writing, reading, thinking and praying. My goal for the year was to grow closer to God, and I believe He slowed down my life last year so I could do just that. And you know what? I do feel closer to Him. I feel like I know Him just a tiny bit more. But it was in the silence and the calmness that I found Him. Not in the busy, hectic modern life we all lead.
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12
What happens in the silence when you shut everything off and you are finally alone? Then you are forced to think about your life, to think about what you're doing with your life and how you treat people and what's important in life. When you are alone, you are introspective... you start looking deep within you. And I believe most people don't like what they see. So they turn on the music and the videos and keep themselves busy so they don't have to address the real questions of life. Like, why am I here? Was I just an accident? Is there a purpose for life? If so, am I fulfilling it? Is there is a God? Is there life after death?
But people don't think about these things anymore. Satan has defeated both believers and non-believers with the weapon of busyness. Non-believers so they will never seek God, and believers so they will never know God.
He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. John 6:15
And it happened, as He was alone praying, Luke 9:18
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matt 26:36
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12
I believe Jesus not only spent time praying for others, probably mostly His disciples, but I believe most of that time alone with God was spent listening to what God was telling Him.... getting direction for what Jesus would do next.
The time you spend alone with God without cellphone or music or video or any distractions is the MOST IMPORTANT time of your day. If the Son of God felt it was important, then how can we not do exactly as He did? I know many of you spend time in prayer each day, lifting up your requests to God. And this is good and necessary. But have you ever just sat still and silent in the presence of God? It's so hard for us to do, isn't it? Our minds are used to so much stimuli that they race around and around and we end up thinking about what's for dinner rather than listening to God.
What the really cool thing is about getting to know God more is you start to be able to sense His presence elsewhere during the day. The more you know Him, the more you sense Him, the more you know Him, the more you trust Him, the more peace and joy you feel. It's incredible.
So, this new year, I'm going to set aside 10-15 minutes a day and turn everything off. And I'm going to sit quietly in the presence of God. Want to join me?