Sometimes stillness can affect us in profound ways. We’ve all experienced it in one form or another—a brilliant star-lit night stops our heart, an awesome mountain vista demands our attention, or the fiery hues of an ocean sunset leave us speechless. Somehow these moments add to us and we leave with more than we came. Creation clearly has a way of unveiling the majesty of God (Psalm 19:1). Yet there’s something even more breathtaking than the wonder of creation before us—the glory of God within us.
Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” In other words, we were made for fellowship with God. Such purpose, however, requires participation. We do what we can and God does what we can’t. We give God our time through the discipline of stillness. For the Christian, stillness is always a means to an end—prayer and fellowship. So, through this practice we learn to stop amidst the busyness and distractions of life to refocus our hearts on Christ.
Stillness is a mystery because, initially, it never seems remarkable. Yet, over time, this mundane practice can transform our faith in ways we’d never fathom. For when we practice stillness we take a proactive approach to the growth of our faith by carving out space and time to engage God’s presence within. Here we discover what it’s like for our hearts to finally come alive. This is the special place of stillness and once we find it we can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Many times we put off the discipline of stillness because we don’t think we have the time. We wait for the perfect time, enough time, the convenient time and simply move on as best we can. We think this way only because we don’t understand the impact of this discipline on seconds or minutes to transform hours and days. But, with persistent practice, stillness will eventually become like second nature.
Interestingly, despite the incredible benefits of stillness, I somehow continue to underestimate the power of distraction. Though I remain desperate for God, I’m amazed how easily I can neglect this special place. I do it whenever I misunderstand time as my own to spend however I want. Eventually, I realize how miserable I’ve become. Then I am keenly aware that this special place is now my life and absence long results in strife. You see, once we’ve “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8), stillness becomes a gift we can no longer afford to waste. Next week we further this theme on the importance of stillness and prayer for a strong and healthy faith.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever experienced a sense of holy stillness whether externally in creation or internally in prayer? If so, what was it like?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.