Cherished memories are among the most precious gifts one can possess. The clearer the memory, the more powerful its effect. So too with our faith when we’ve encountered the presence of God; such memories remind us that the God who met us yesterday is the same God who yearns to meet with us today . . . and tomorrow. While our faith is not based on such experiences, they do have a profound way of motivating us to diligently nurture the health of our souls.
Yet, time has a way of clouding such memories . . . and difficult times even more severely. Such overcast weather can come through times of suffering or merely years of maintaining the status quo. Regardless the cause, whenever we’ve lost motivation to grow in our faith it’s not long before the heavy clouds settle in and our memories slowly fade.
So, how do we renew our faith when unpleasant memories have hijacked our minds and darkened our hearts? What can we do when we become skeptical of memories we used to hold sacred? We must let go our search to figure them out; we must simply be still and surrender them to God. Our problem is not a lack of answers but hunger. We’ve lost our appetite for God and silence will help us get it back.
In a culture rampant with so much noise pollution it’s not surprising that scientific studies show that silence is beneficial to physical health. And if so, how much more the health of our minds . . . our souls? If we hope to restore a sense of spiritual hunger, we must resist the noise. Solitude has a way of teaching us the posture of stillness and there awakening an appetite for God we thought we lost.
Even Jesus needed to get away from the busyness of his schedule to stay focused on what was most important (Mark 1:35); and before his ultimate test he strengthened his soul in the solitude of a garden (Mark 26:36-44). Scripture and the history of the Church are filled with examples of people discovering God afresh after desperately crying out from broken circumstances and solitary places.
God always responds to the cry for deeper communion. He meets us in times of wonder and of woe . . . sometimes in the remarkable though mostly in the ordinary. It really doesn’t matter where or how as much as our commitment to the discipline of silence. Here he turns our hearts into chapels and restores our hunger as he reminds us of that place that used to be. Next week we talk about the amazing benefits of making stillness and prayer a part of our daily lifestyle.
What Do You Think?
Do you remember times of special closeness with God in years past? If so, have they become increasingly foggy through the years? How so?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.