I stood motionless on the deck at the back of our house and gazed at the soaring maples and pines east of the house. The thought came to me, “They grow steadily and yet they do not move from where they are rooted.” Of course, trees don’t move unless lashed by high winds, but what lesson is there in that? After all, we are humans born with two feet to run and walk and explore God’s earth. Trees don’t have our freedom of movement. But…
Perhaps, we move around too much. We dash from task to task. We lead important lives and must be seen to be almost frantically busy to be successful—mustn’t we? There is income to earn, emails to answer, Facebook to check, blogs to skim, phone calls to make, texts to send, repairs to complete around the house, and plans to outline for tomorrow and next week and next month and…. Work, work, work. Busy, busy, busy.
I’m one of those people who make lists. I have long lists of tasks to do so I can check them off my list. But the lists never seem to get smaller. It’s almost as if I have a compulsion to demonstrate my importance by checking off tasks on a list! Sadly, my devotions often are just another item on my to-do-list. I must have devotions if I’m to grow, mustn’t I? Of course, but…
Trees just silently grow. They imbibe water and nutrients from the ground. The sun powers their leaf factories. And slowly, week after week, year after year they grow until they become tall and stately like those on our property. Wonderful!
God counsels us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Without still times, what an earlier generation called quiet times, how can we connect with God? And if we don’t connect with God, how will we sense what the Holy Spirit desires of us? The Spirit seldom makes himself heard above the blare of the radio or TV.
The Psalmist counsels us to search our hearts, remind ourselves of how precious we are in God’s sight and be still upon our beds. (See Psalm 4) Meditation is a vital component of Christian growth. And meditation requires quietness, stillness, a thoughtful pondering of God’s glories and the wonders of our salvation. In the desert David meditated upon God “through the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:6). The righteous man in Psalm one “meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). David writes of meditating “on all your works” (Psalm 143:5).
Modern life is much too frantic, leaving little time to stop, to sit, to think, to pray, to meditate, to listen to God. Let’s buck the trend. Avoid being known as too busy, instead let us privately carve out times when we can be still, listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, that’s not going to be easy for me.