Silence. If you are a parent, you understand the joy of a few moments of peace and quiet. If you have a job that involves constantly dealing with people, you probably understand the need for a break from demands. Nap time used to be the most wonderful time for me to recharge, or take a shower. Now that our girls are older and I am home alone at least one night a week, I find myself talking to the cats or turning on music. It’s a little too quiet sometimes. But that time alone is the best way for me to slow down and charge up my patience, my empathy, and my ability to give abundantly. When we let those things run down, we find ourselves responding quickly, angrily, and sometimes resenting the constant demands on our time and energy.
To be giving and loving, following the mission Christ gave us, we need to spend time listening to Him. We must spend time in His Word to hear where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. Scripture is filled with examples of God’s love for us, His faithfulness, and how He will give us the strength to reach out to the people around us. When we are filled with His love, then that love can overflow to others.
There are multiple examples in the New Testament of Jesus going off by Himself to rest and/or pray. He knew He needed to take time to talk and listen to His Father. We need to follow His example. God even rested after He created the world. I’m pretty sure none of us are doing more important work than that, so if He rested, we probably should, too.
After being baptized, Jesus chose to go out into the wilderness, and He spent forty days out there all alone. We do not generally choose to take the time out, so sometimes God brings the wilderness to us. Sometimes the hard times are so bad we are forced to our knees because we have nowhere else to turn. God needs to be the One we turn to before times get bad, too. We are given challenges so we can learn from them.
Romans 5:3-4 says, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” The struggles and suffering often make us stop and take stock of our lives. If you are going through a difficult time right now, what are you learning? How is God speaking to you? How can you use trials that come your way to strengthen your character, and how can you remember to look forward in hope? In the midst of struggles, if we remember God is faithful, the difficulty doesn’t seem so hard and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel more clearly.
Have you taken time recently to be quiet before God and to listen, or do you only go to Him with requests and fears? It is an easy thing to fall into the habit of only begging God for help. Let’s get in the habit of thanking and praising Him always. It is hard to complain and demand our own way when we have hearts of thanksgiving. Are you reading God’s Word to hear His words of encouragement and challenge? We are called to go out into the world and bring the Good News of His grace, mercy, and love, so use the quiet time with Him to rest and recharge. Fill your heart with love and peace, so it overflows to the people around you.
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