Steven Bonner tells about taking a group of teenagers on a trip to Tuba City, Arizona. Fondly he recalls the “spiritually transforming events” that occurred on those trips. Specifically, he relates the impressions of the devotional periods led by Paul Ghee.
As the teens met at the mouth of Coal Mine Canyon and sat down in the slightly black dirt, the sun is setting. There is a slight breeze. Then Paul asks everyone to stop moving. To be quiet. So, “we could hear the silence?”
Steven rhetorically says, “Can you imagine what absolute silence sounds like?” Then he describes it.
“There are no cars racing by. There are no horns or whistles. There are no sounds of civilization or humanity. All you can hear is silence and it is loud and clear. There is no mistaking the stillness, the calm between heartbeats. It is only in the deep silence that you can truly appreciate the canyon. Rich in color and tapestry. Jagged peaks and knobby knolls. Flaking rocks and penetrating depths. In the silence you begin to hear. Yes, God’s voice resonates loudly in the silence. His presence is felt and it is unmistakable. You are in the throne room of the great Creator as He beckons you to listen to His silence.”
Our word of the week is “meditate.”
Meditation is a lost virtue. In our hectic, fast-paced culture, we find ourselves with jam-packed schedules, demanding agendas, and never-ending task lists! We are constantly on the go. And it seems our technology, which is supposed to make life easier, has added to the endless bombardment of information. Now on our iphones we constantly receive texts, check our email, and update our facebook account.
Too often our lives can be described by the lyrics of a country song by Alabama:
I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.
The Psalmist writes a good bit about meditation in his collection. He says meditation is a characteristic of the righteous man (Ps 1:2). In fact, it is his delight. He speaks of meditating on the nature of God. His Word. His world. And His works.
Dee Bowman was right when he wrote, “Meditation is vital to spiritual development.” To grow spiritually we need time for reflection. Time to ponder. Contemplate. And ruminate. To “meditate” means to think about something quietly and at length. The 18th century British minister, William Grimshaw said meditation “is the soul’s chewing.”
So how do we chew?
1. We must determine to devote some time to meditation. It is a decision we make.
2. Meditation requires purpose. Resolve. Intent.
3. You need something to chew on! Something to ponder. A psalm. A verse. A spiritual idea. A divine thought.
4. Find a place of solitude. Be quiet. “Be still,” Jehovah implores, “and know that I am God.” Thomas Carlyle put it this way, “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves”
5. Relax. Decompress. Unwind. The Bible says, Isaac went out into the field in the evening to meditate (Gen. 24:63). You may not have a field, but find a place to relax! Schedule a day, a week-end, or vacation where you can unwind.
In Psalm 119, David speaks of the value of meditating on God’s Word, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (v.15). He said meditating on the Word of God:
1. Supplied counsel in the face of criticism. (V.23)
2. Refocused his thoughts on the wonder of God’s works (v. 27)
3. Increased his longing for Divine Counsel (v. 48)
4. Helped him make godly decisions (v. 59).
5. Assisted in overcoming attitudes of acrimony, resentment and rancor.
6. Motivated him to make God’s Word his daily companion. (v 97)
7. Provided unique insight, understanding and education (v. 99).
May our prayer be: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (PS 19:14)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman