“There was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour… then… incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people.”
– Revelation 8:1, 3
At home, we needed to transfer a row of 8-year-old English boxes from our front yard to the back garden as they needed room to grow. Some of them survived the move while others went into deep shock and seemed to be dying. The dried leaves indicated they are not very happy indeed. This reminds me so much of my spiritual life.
We all respond to change differently — whether as a result of a calling or a desire for new life. I remember my call to transformation 18 years ago now – my carnal nature resisted, rebelled and for years I was disobedient to God’s commands.
How blessed I am that despite my opposition to God’s new ways, I was given the grace day by day, little by little to change into a much better person. The call to a new life becomes an exciting adventure, especially during the honeymoon period when one is rewarded with supernatural and mystical experiences, signs and wonders that delight the soul.
Afterward, there is a call for deepening of faith and the pruning gets tougher. So when I experienced medical concerns about my heart and my eyes for the last three months, I wondered what the Lord was asking of me. With much prayer and discernment, the Lord revealed it was cleansing time.
My prayer life was complacent, my trust in God shallow, my serving Him is still based on fleshly motivations. God made me understand the importance of communing with Him daily, and to give Him first place – then my day is set into motion according to His plan. I notice that if I do this, I am given enough strength and courage to overcome the trials and challenges of the day and rest in gratitude for the joys and delights as well. He constantly reminds me: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1”
Spiritual mentors encourage us: “Give God first place, not second, nor last.” Many of us will complain: “I will not know how to spend the time…”
It takes practice and discipline to rest in God, the need for silence and withdrawal from the things of the earth.
In my counselling ministry, I urge my clients, especially couples whose marriages are torn and about to break down that relationships must be nurtured, given time, watered and fertilised. We cannot take our loved ones for granted. It is daily work.
Someone once said that it is difficult to be a Christian because it is very daily! Indeed, growing is an everyday process. But if we persevere, we may find that the time that seems the most difficult will become the most blessed in our whole life.
The year 2018 is here. What will it bring? Or rather what can I bring into it? There will be a lot of unknown, and situations beyond our control. Will our diary consist of many bookings with the world or appointments with the Lord? Can we manage the half hour of silence in heaven, when as we bow in silence, in deepest humility, waiting on God, with expectant faith that He will reveal Himself to us?
H Jackson Brown Jr shares: “Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” The moments spent with God in reverent silence and eager waiting opens the eyes of our heart.
As the roots of a tree are hidden under the earth, so the roots of our daily life are hidden deep in God. (Andrew Murray: Daily Devotions on Prayer)