For those of you who were skeptical I did it! I went on a Silent Retreat and made it through the time I was to be quiet. I had my doubts too. I was afraid of quietness for that long a period. I was afraid of what God might reveal to me.
I have known about this silent retreat for a couple of years, but have not felt led to be a participant. A few months back I downloaded an app on my phone. It’s called Abide. It has music playing in the background and people praying the scriptures. I use it for centering. It’s a pretty awesome app. When I asked my friends to send me the information for the silent retreat I was amazed. On the top of the information was the word Abide. I found out later at the retreat that just happened to be their theme for this year. When I first saw the word Abide on the retreat information I was a little surprised. I felt God was telling me this was the year. A week or so later I was involved in a woman’s bible study. I was doing one of my daily lessons. The author mentioned a silent retreat. A third sign I was supposed to be on this retreat. I immediately signed up.
I really thought I knew why I was going. I was going to see my burning bush. Some commitments are coming to an end and I really figured God was planning on showing me what was next in my life. As usual God had different plans. God can see the whole picture we can’t. He knows our days, weeks, months and years. We can’t. We can only see what is in front of us.
About a month ago (maybe less) I received yet another invitation to the court system as a juror. This was my third request. I knew the outcome could not be good….the third time’s the charm they say. Well, it turned out I was right. Do you know when I was to go on this little trip; the week before my silent retreat. The whole week I kept praying this case would be finished before I had to leave on Friday. God wanted me on this retreat so I should have known things would work out. On Thursday evening I arrived home at 7:00pm; case wrapped up.
I did not go home peacefully. I did not go home excited about the silent retreat. I went home with my head spinning with all that I had witnessed that week. We gave a young man who was just 38 years old life in prison with a possible parole in 15 years. Some of us women shed tears as we heard the sentence read. His mother had asked for leniency. His sister did not want her brother to be sent off yet again. On the way home I had trouble letting go of all that had been said and done in court. My heart broke for his family and I had pity on him.
I spent most of Friday trying to prepare for this silent retreat. Packing and gathering items I thought I might need. Yet, my head was still in the courtroom. My friends picked me up and off we headed. I felt emotionally drained and physically tired.
God knows more than we do what we need. God knows His plans better than we do. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He knew the plans He had for me this weekend and it did not include a burning bush.
It was refreshing meeting new people and forgetting just for a little while. We went into silence later on Friday night. I slept exceptionally well that night. Saturday morning comes. There is a praise song with the phrase, “I am desperate for you.” That was on my mind when I woke up Saturday morning.
During the day I took out pen and paper and wrote this,
After a week of seeing destruction, evil, hatred, violence, turmoil, disappointment
and heartbreak God brought me to this place so I may experience
peace, beauty, hope and love. Peace, not as the world gives.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
This weekend was to about being restored. He took those ugly memories that I had experienced from the week and was replacing them with peace. Tranquility began to set in and I could begin once more to feel His love and His presence. God knew what I was going to need after this week and He provided for me. What an awesome God.
It’s Monday as I sit here. The silent retreat is over. I have learned a few things; silence is okay. I usually have music on all the time. I am learning it’s in the silence I can hear God speaking to me; not only in my music. Contemplative is a new word to me. I do my devotions, but do I meditate on them? Am I contemplating what God is trying to say to me? Or do I just rush through them just so I can say I am doing devotions every day? The things I heard and experienced in the court case now only comes to mind if I focus on it, but I really think I have better things to focus on.
God is so good to give us what we need, before we know we even need it. Psalm 46:10, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” I needed the stillness so He could work through me. I needed to be silent so He could do what I could not do on my own.
What do you need from God right now? Is your life so busy you can’t be still to hear him? Are you drowning out the silence with noise? Can you bear the silence? I am learning to be silent and appreciate what God gives me in the silence. Be silent for just a little while and see the good God has for you this day.
Dear God: Thank you! You know what I would need after this week and you provided for me. You also taught me a few things along the way. I know I rush through my devotions, I know I have music playing all the time, and I know I have been afraid of the silence. You taught me not to fear, but to be still and listen. I am listening God. I am learning. Thank you for silencing my memories and replacing them with thoughts of love, hope and peace. You are worthy of all my praise. Amen.