As I was writing this Seed of the Kingdom, I recalled my time at a 7-Day Silent Retreat. Prior to signing up, I had no idea what would take place at a Silent Retreat, but I was curious. Since my wife was going, I signed up.
On arrival, we were briefed on the schedule and the Dos and Don’ts. We were to practise absolute quietness and silence, even during our breakfast, lunch and dinner. We must not talk with anyone, including our partners. All communication devices had to be switched off.
Every morning and evening, we would gather for an hour in a room. With soft Christian music in the background, the leader would read a selected passage of Scripture and we would all be at our own corners meditating on the Scripture and reflecting on its meaning to our lives and walk with God. This was refreshing, but the most difficult was between 10am–5pm, when we were alone by ourselves. The weather was hot and humid. We strolled around the 3–4-acre lawn, without chatting. By the end of the third day, I was eager to jump on a plane and fly home.
But, something happened on the fourth morning, after the usual hour of meditative Scripture. The passage on this day was; ‘One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock’ (Psalm 27:4-5).
I was sitting alone in silence, outside on a garden chair. On the ground in front of me was a hen with her brood and a cockerel. The hen was busy searching for food to feed the brood and the cockerel was some distance away. There was a turkey lurking around, but each time the turkey attempted to come anywhere near her brood, the mother hen would chase it away. But the cockerel was unconcerned about the situation.
God spoke to me in this silent scenario, using it to show me His love and creation. He said, “You saw how unconcerned the cockerel was. Yet the hen, not even half the size of the turkey, dared to challenge the turkey and protect her brood. I’ve created them, and I will protect and keep them safe. But like the cockerel, you were engrossed with your career and your wife had to protect and take care of your children”. Wow! I was so convicted, and I repented of my indifference and selfishness. Now I understood why our Lord Jesus retreated from all activities to be by Himself and spend silent time with Almighty God.
Prayer: Father, thank You for granting time in Your presence in silence. Often, I come to You with my prayer petitions, requests and supplications. My time in Your presence is, most of the time, about my needs and problems. I’m so caught up with my own thoughts and issues that I fail to realise my short-comings, and don’t remember what an awesome God You are. Lord, You’ve shown me how often Jesus went away from the crowds and disciples to be alone with You. Lord, help me to learn to treasure my time alone, in silence, in Your presence, and hear what You have to speak into my life. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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