Welcome to my first blog. It’s about listening. I hope that with each blog I write, and each comment you share, we will encourage each other to listen well to our Shepherd.
A day of silence
How do you listen when there’s only silence? Fog-shrouded, vacuum-still, stone-dead silence?
I spent one whole day listening to my Shepherd recently. I needed to hear His heart for me in this new year. I knew He wanted to hear my heart right back to Him.
A whole day is a long time to listen. I sat in a coffee shop, sun streaming in bright through frosty windows. I parked at the train depot overlooking the city, hoping for perspective. I strolled downtown, earphones stuffed down deep, worshiping. I journaled in a crowded lunch room, gleams from stained glass free-dancing alongside my pen. I hiked in the foothills, speaking my prayers right out loud.
At day’s end, a thick fog settled in, hushing the world into solemn quiet. I found a secluded park and picked up my pen again. I didn’t really want to hear my own thoughts, but since I wasn’t hearing His, I began to write: “Thank You, Good Shepherd, that on the icy trails this afternoon You did not let my foot slip.” A few sentences later: “Please show Yourself so surprisingly and delightfully this year that I will dance and applaud and laugh and exclaim, ‘Only my God could have done this!’ Dare I pray such a thing?”
A couple of paragraphs later: “Lord, I keep saying this phrase over and over in my head: When my anxious thoughts multiply within me. But what comes next?”
With that, I picked up my Bible and found what came next. It not only answered my question of the moment; it answered what I’d been asking Him intently all that day, not to mention the weeks before that. To my question, “What do I need to hear from You in this coming year?” He gave me this:
Finally, a word
“If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Your lovingkindness O Lord will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:18-19).
Did you catch it? I had journaled words He knew I’d write (and, though I don’t quite get the mystery, I had journaled the words He’d told me to write). Then He had answered back with the same words. Slipped. Delight.
After days and weeks of listening, my Shepherd had quietly and unmistakably reassured me that, in His lovingkindness, He will console and delight my soul. He had whispered that, for 2014, I was to make space in my days and in my heart to receive these gifts from His hand.
So, how do you listen when there’s only silence?
You wait, with expectant heart. Because if you live within earshot of your Shepherd, He’s going to speak when the time is right. Sometimes it’s through a Scripture that says, “See? I prepared you to hear this.” Sometimes it’s through a quiet prompting of His Spirit. Sometimes it’s through doors slammed shut or windows thrown open. Sometimes it’s through a timely word from a friend. Sometimes it’s in a whirlwind; other times it’s in a whisper.
Wait for it…
Now, it’s your turn
Will you share how has He spoken to you so far this year? Specifically, has He spoken something through His Word that you hope to carry with you all the way through 2014? Let us know–it will encourage all of us!