God comes in solitude | Faithful Living
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
March 2, 2012 · Updated 1:31 PM
Walk with me and work with me --- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
--Matthew 11:28, The Message Bible.
For years I have talked about looking for God in events and through daily relationships. It’s part of my life that has, over time, fine-tuned my own senses. I see God’s imprint on a daily basis. Such awareness has not only enriched my personal life, but provided me with hundreds of topics to write about over the 18 years I’ve penned Faithful Living. When I asked God in my youth to “open my eyes,” He’s been faithful to do that.
Those of us who are spiritually wired often find this to be an uncomplicated exercise. We embrace the task of seeing God at work so we build into our schedules time for prayer, worship, Bible study and activities at our churches. I’ve come to understand this methodology is uniquely tied to American cultural thinking, encouraging us to go after what tugs at our hearts. Some of us, at times of trauma, even desperately seek God.
As I walk through this season of Lent, when I contemplate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, His victory over death, and my personal responses to such events, I’ve been introduced to an entirely new idea: In solitude, God will come my way.
Here’s how this process works. Each day I’ll step away from all this striving and set aside time to quiet myself. I’ll disengage from my iPhone, errands, music, TV and Internet to wrap myself in quiet. I’ll start learning how to turn off the chatter in my head that prevents me from hearing the gentle messages God promises He will present to me.
Some people call this meditation. So be it. Call it what you like. I’ll be right there with you in spirit. But I don’t plan to simply sit in my study and wait to hear God’s voice. I’ll spend time in the quiet but I’ll also begin to practice lectio divina, a Latin phrase that means, “divine reading.”
Here’s how it works. I’ll take a short passage of biblical scripture and read it through the first time for simple understanding. After a few moments of quiet I’ll read it again, this time looking for words or phrases that stand out or seem particularly applicable to my life at this moment. After a few moments I’ll read it a third time and consider my emotional response to the passage. How does this information feel? Following a few quiet moments I’ll read the passage one last time, asking myself what God seems to be saying to me and how He might want me to respond.
When you approach scripture in this manner you view it as alive, relevant, and God inspired. You are entering into His presence and sharing space with God. No doubt it will take some practice. No doubt we will experience God in new ways.