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Sitting Quietly with God

It was the 17th century mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and theologian Blaise Pascal who opined, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” (And that was before earbuds!) Personally, I see our “inability to sit quietly” as more of a symptom than a cause, but the man raises a good point, for have you ever noticed our tendency to fill “dead air”? Let us count the ways: podcasts, movies, TED talks, calling, texting, streaming, newsfeeds, YouTube, TV . . . we could go on. There is nothing wrong with any of these helpful means to learning, connection and leisure, of course, but when they conspire as enablers to our “inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” we can miss the calm of God’s presence and the balm of His voice.

God speaks through His Word, for the Spirit ignites its truth in our hearts, where it transforms us in beautiful ways and equips us for God’s meaningful work. (See our August 4 post: “The Bible is Changing Me.”) Still, there is a difference between reading Scripture and meditating on it, for when we engage the Word, knowledge matures into understanding, and a flickering light burns brighter inside. “I have more insight than my teachers,” marveled David, “for I am always thinking of your laws.”1 And when we mull Scripture over in our minds, insight leads to wonderment. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”2

Then how do we meditate on God’s Word, that it would speak to the innermost reaches of our soul? I have found that journaling takes me deep into the Word. I jot down a Scripture passage and then write whatever comes to mind—usually what I am learning from the verse and also how it is affecting me (e.g., praise, conviction, or a call to change or action)—after which I respond in written prayer. Of course, not everyone finds journaling to be helpful, so perhaps the memorization and recall of Scripture ushers you to a closer seat in the presence of God. Maybe you’re a student by nature, one who searches deep and wide to understand individual passages within the broader Biblical context, your heart burning with fresh insights to ancient words. How do you best focus?

Truthfully, we are never “in a room alone,” for God is always with us and He invites us to draw near to Him. He is the One who sustains us through “humanity’s problems,” for He is faithful. “Sit quietly” with Him, and meditate on His Word. He speaks.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.3 In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Psalm 119:99
2 Psalm 119:97
3 Psalm 19:14