In Chapter 4 Pastor Idleman has discussed the need for us to experience the messages that God is sending us. This week I have commented on how we make life harder than it should be. God’s messages can be simple and receiving his blessing can be a simple process but we make it hard. God’s messages can be pretty obvious but we don’t see them. They are right in front of us be we don’t open our eyes. We just can’t see them.
To end the week, the focus is on our minds. What do we need to do to be in a position to receive God’s help?
Get to a place of solitude.
I used to need to be with people. I could not handle being alone.
Then I found God and I discovered something: I am never alone. He is always there. But being alone is not enough. You need to be in a place of solitude. That means nothing in your environment should distract you. I go to a room in my house and take my coffee. The room is far away from the flow of the house and early in the morning when I have “solitude” time I turn off all the lights and the room is often pitch dark. No TV. No Computer. No phone. Just me, the coffee and God in the dark.
However, I am still not in a place of solitude. My mind needs to be still. I have removed a lot of the external noise of life because I am away from technology and sound and sight but I still may have physiological noise. At the moment, my wife is suffering from a sinus infection so guess what, her solitude is being interrupted by her sinus pain. Physiological noise could be a headache, sore muscles etc. etc. [you get the picture].
Even more important to achieve solitude is the psychological noise we all experience. Thoughts occur [most of the time at random] about people, places, things we want to do or need to do. We bring our anger into solitude. We bring our worry into solitude. We bring our joy into solitude.
We don’t have solitude if we don’t make the mind quiet.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” Pastor Idleman uses such good illustrations in his book, his daughter who so desperately wanted to catch a butterfly and she did but she had to do what her father told her. You have to be still and quiet. Then a butterfly landed on her knee. The church in England that recorded silence on a CD. The congregation was told to take a half hour every day for a week and listen to the CD, a CD with nothing on it but silence. Elijah went to the mountain to meet God. Surely he thought God would be in the wind. He wasn’t. Surely God is in the earthquake that is shaking this mountain. He wasn’t. God must be in the fire. He wasn’t . Elijah finally found God…in a gentle whisper.
For many of us today, true solitude is what we can’t achieve.
Without it, we will never hear the “still, small voice” of God.
Questions: As we leave Chapter 4 and prepare to study Chapter 5, what do you need to do to achieve real solitude? What do you need to do to realize God’s wonderful blessings in your life–to really “see” them? Is life so complex for you that you cannot comprehend God’s blessings in the simple things? What do you need to change so you can see His simple expressions of love and caring?