There is so much more to God than I can fathom.  This morning, as I sit here in his presence, I find myself asking how the more is achieved, or is it achieved at all?  Must one simply work harder – even give more time, to find a satisfying relationship emerge?  I find myself at conflict as I process what it means to surrender more to God – to have him direct even my very thoughts.

It almost seems to contradict the need to simplify.  Spending more time intentionally pursuing God does not necessarily seem to be a simple thing.  And yet I’m convinced that’s exactly what it is supposed to be.

… it seems to me now that the very Bible cannot be read as a substitute for meeting with God soul to soul and face to face [1].  I have often found that in my times of quiet and contemplation I attempt to read or do – something, anything that will help me feel that I am hearing God’s voice.  When I am not doing, the chaos of my thoughts creeps in and then this one – that one – yet another, all bombard me and I go chasing, try to make sense of it all.

But it turns out that this time I’ve set aside is not meant to reconcile all of my wandering thoughts.  Rather than ignore them, though, I find it more effective to intentionally give each thought to God.  It brings the focus back to him.

I grasp to this thought by Frank Laubach the strongest: “Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing.  It is perfect if one looks to God that entire hour, waiting for his leadership all through the hour and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God wishes it done.” [2]

That is what I want to do – to seek God without ceasing.  That these times alone, in the quiet, with God, would not be “my time with God for today”, but would be springboards into a day full of God.

[1] Frank Laubach (edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith),Devotional Classics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 104
[2] Ibid, 104

As I type in the title the words seem haunting and blunt.  Perhaps even stirring negative feelings.  The practice of silence and solitude can truly feel worthless, and leaves no room for ego.  Whether it’s 10 minutes or 1 hour, it’s not something that can really even provide useful fuel for burning a brag fire.

Henri J. M. Nouwen writes that solitude can cause an inner chaos to open up in us, which is disturbing and confusing, causing us to desire the return of busyness [1].  I find this rather true, as thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know existed rise to the surface.

I’ve often made excuses for not spending more time in silence and solitude.  Here are a few:

  • I have a deep well.  I just don’t need to spend as much time in silence and solitude as those with “shallow” wells.
  • I’m a night person.  That’s really the only time the house is quiet enough, but if I try it then, I usually just end up falling asleep.
  • I can do it on the fly – like when I’m driving somewhere, or in the middle of doing something else.
  • I hear from God just fine, without having to dedicate a specific time to trying to hear from him.

Maybe you could relate to some of these excuses, or even have some to add.  The reality is that the spiritual life is not just a gift, but also really hard work [2].  We are deceiving ourselves if we think that it should just come easy (see Mark 10:23).

I welcome you to join me in the journey, of which I am re-committed to as of today.  Spotty times of being alone with God may have perhaps gotten me through in a pinch, but there is so much more.  God awaits.

[1] Henri J.M. Nouwen (edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith), Devotional Classics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 82
[2] Ibid, 80