June 23, 2017
Sitting on the porch listening to the steady thrumming of the rain on the roof, I could feel the pressures and problems of the week melting away. Three days of inclement weather didn’t set well with the kids who were eager to spend time on the beach, but for me, it was a godsend. Whether it’s a misty drizzle or a full downpour, rain has a way of slowing things down. At the cabin by the lake, there was no tv, no radio, no internet, and no phone. Just time…and rain.
Today was another one of those slow, rainy days. Sure, there were a few errands in the morning, and dinner out with my wife in the late afternoon, but the planned outdoor projects just sat waiting. But the tv was on, there were phone calls to make, emails to check. It’s amazing how two similar days can be so different. At the cabin, there was time to read and pray, and to reflect. Today, I read and prayed, but reflection requires not only time, but solitude, something a bit more difficult to reach amid all the distractions.
Moses spent forty days on the mountain receiving the Law. Elijah took a forty day vacation into the wilderness before hearing from God. Jesus was forty days in the wilderness, listening and praying. He walked wherever he went. Paul was three years in the desert, speaking to no one; listening for the Word of the Lord, and John was in exile on Patmos when Jesus revealed himself to him. God tends to take his time. Revelation rarely comes to minds and hearts crowded with the distractions of the world. Throughout history, the saints have occasionally or regularly secluded themselves from society in order to hear from God. I wonder why we so seldom do that anymore. Perhaps we are afraid of what he might reveal to us. Perhaps it’s just too much work. It’s easier to run ourselves ragged, or to anesthetize ourselves with sound and images than to hear from God.
The rain has stopped, but the noise goes on, as does the voice of God. Only by ignoring the one will the Other be heard. The question is, which will I ignore? If I am to be truly thankful, there is only one answer. There can be no gratitude for noise, but for the discipline to enter solitude, I am grateful, for it is not merely my own choice, but the movement of God’s Spirit enabling and encouraging me to choose well.