Jill Jarrell Newsome
In The Seat Next To Me
I must be living right! On both flights to see Sarah I got a row to myself! I was beyond thrilled so I could sleep. I texted Mike before take off and said, "I have the whole row to myself. I am sitting by myself!" As always, I said my prayer as we took off, and it was like God had come over the speaker. "That seat is not empty!" Hadn't I just asked Him to talk to me while I was quiet and still? How soon I forgot! God was right here in the seat beside me - just like I had asked. The rest of those flights I pictured God beside me. I closed my eyes and rested in His presence.
It seems when we are in God's presence we hear him so loud in the silence. We can find Him in whatever our circumstances are. I have heard Him loud in the silence of snorkeling. Some people have first heard God during a near death experience and then they hear Him and they actually thank Him. Why, if they have never thanked Him before? I think it is because all of us have found something inside that knows there is something more than ourselves.
Our life is too loud and our schedule is too busy and we are easily distracted. Then we forget God is God! Psalm 32: 7, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." The psalmist thought of God as a hiding place - I love that. Haven't you wanted to hide from everyone and everything?
There are times when it seems like God is not there - He is silent. We go through the motions, say the right things but our hearts are dull. Guess who walked away? God will never leave us. Hebrews 13: 5, "'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” There are times when God will be intentionally silent when we are walking away from Him and going against His ways. He is showing us tough love. That silence is an invitation to come back to Him. That silence makes us aware that something isn't right and that we cannot live this way. God is getting our attention. He is making us crave Him and get back on board with Him. The silence is God's invitation for us to seek Him.
We need quiet to hear God's voice. Elijah enjoyed silence on the mountaintop and David enjoyed silence in the open fields. Daniel enjoyed quiet in his prayer closet and Jesus during early morning. How does God speak to us? Sometimes he shouts through an accident, illness, crisis, or family emergency, but sadly, often times, his voice is muffled by our chaos.
In John 10: 27, Jesus, The Good Shepherd, says his sheep know His voice and won't follow a stranger's voice. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." When we are intentional to slow down and listen, we can hear the voice of God speaking directly to our hearts.
When we are intentionally still and silent, listening to God, this is crucial for our spiritual life. God speaks loudest when we are quietest! Meditate on Psalm 46: 10, "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God..'" Break the Scripture down.
Be still. Be still, and know.
Be still, and know that I am God.