For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)
In a little booklet I have called “Unhurried Living,” John Ortberg says, “Hurry is a disordered heart.” He refers to the habit of constantly rushing; of guilt when we’re not doing anything; of pressure to perform; of anxiety that others will get ahead of us; and of FOMO, fear of missing out. In our high-stress lifestyleS today, we’ve probably all succumbed to one of these behaviors. We seem to have something pushing at all times telling us that we need to be busy.
And then the Lord comes to us in our rushing about and tells us to be still and know him (Psalm 46:10). Stop everything. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. I wonder if the question is “would not” or “could not”? Have we become so habituated to rushing around that we don’t know how to stop? But God says that in resting, we’ll be strong; in being still, we’ll come to know him.
Two of our Ugandan friends, retired archbishop Henry and his wife Phoebe, have practiced Quiet Monday for the eighteen years that I’ve known them. Phoebe loads a basket with fruit and drinks, and then she and Henry go to a mountain retreat to pray and rest and be still for the day. Henry was bishop of a northwestern diocese in Uganda during the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army in their region—and yet, the LRA never ventured into his diocese to bring death and destruction. Was that coincidental or was it due to two people who every week dedicated one full day to resting and waiting and calling on God?
We may not have physical enemies, but we all have adverse circumstances and spiritual enemies waiting for the tiniest opening. What can we do? Borrowing again from “Unhurried Living,” we can refresh our spirits with God’s promises about rest; we can create a place in our homes or designate one nearby for reflection; we can commit to regular times (or days) of quietness; we can build in a time of renewal each month; or we could even take a sabbatical.
Take the challenge to rest. It may be difficult initially—our systems have been programmed for performance, but God calls us to rest. Our strength is in quietness and confidence.
Father, help us, convict us to slow down and listen. Quiet our spirits so that we rest in you. Renew us for your service and your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.