So one of my readers asked, “What is the draw of the silence?
The silent gaze of the One who loves you conveys tenderness, understanding, compassion and so much more.
It’s pretty tangible, just as if He is standing or sitting beside you, enjoying your company, even as you enjoy His.
This cannot be imagined. It can only be experienced.
Sometimes, He speaks; and whatever He says will come to pass.
Most times, I am content just to know He is there.
Many are uncomfortable with silence and that is a pity, for God is often found in quietness. His Spirit calls to our spirit; His Deep calls to our deep.
And when we respond, He rewards us with His unwavering attention.
Each silence has its own innate quality; some silences have the essence of peace; some convey strength; others, understanding. Each silence is different. But Love is embedded in every aspect of the silences of God. That is how we know the silences are of Him.
And my reader asks, “What is the purpose?”
I have no purpose except to enjoy being with the One who loves me.
The deeper one dives in the spirit, the quieter the inner waters become; I am alone, and yet not alone for His presence is always with me. The deeper we dive, the more silent it becomes — the more silent we become.
The world and its demands fade away as I sink immeasurably down into the depths, allowing the silence to draw me like gravity. But I do not live in a vacuum. Occasionally, the cacophony outside insists on my attention and with a sigh I cut loose, surface and deal with it; and then I turn and dive again, into the deep, deep waters of the Spirit who dwells in silence.
His silence is intimate, yet non-intrusive. He is present, calm and assuring. He gives me a sense of the eternity where He lives, where time has no beginning or end. In fact, He is Eternity.
So I dive deeper down into the depths of silence where it’s quiet, not even a ripple, but teems with life.
There are good friends, and there are God-friends. We hang out with good friends as there are mutual interests, mutual support, we have fun and we look forward to meeting again.
And, there are God-friends. They are there for a season, perhaps for life, but a few things make them stand out.
They “get” you. You don’t have to explain yourself — they already believe in you. They’re in your corner.
They’re like you, yet very unlike you. They’ve been through stuff you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and they’ve come out with a spiritual stature that people recognize and flock to. And when they see you, there’s a connection. They know, they understand — instinctively they know you; they’re on your side and they’ll fight for you. And you don’t even have to ask.
Those are God-friends.
When I reached 40, I started having God-friends. In the bible, 40 and multiples thereof are spiritually significant. That was the season God-friends started to come one after another — those He has assigned to walk beside me through tough times because He knew I was totally unprepared for them.
My God-friends guided me when I was in confusion; they outlined a strategy to handle the mess I inherited while they trained me to tackle the person behind it. They ensured my rights were respected when the majority wanted to push the issue under the carpet; when my enemies were speaking crookedly, they spoke up to set the record straight and silenced them. When I was in crisis, they made time for me and used their skills to heal me.
God-friends know my heart, they believe in me and stand up for me.
They are answers to years of prayer.
Perhaps He needs the time to prepare them for me, and me for them. Whatever the reason, they are the God-friends I need, and He sends them to light up the path before me.
God is faithful, and He sends good and faithful friends.
(Picture taken at the MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore)
I have been cutting down from social media activities since the beginning of this month, and it has led to an increasingly greater quietness within. I don’t know how long this season will last — the last time God led me into this, it was for 10 years — but I’m enjoying it. I wonder if this is a little of how the saints of old felt when they retreated into the cells of their monasteries or into their caves to seek Him.
“A little” as I’m not living the ascetic lifestyle they lived, but as I cut down on my activities, I become more aware of how social media saps our soul and distracts us from ourselves. Conversely, as we step away from all the noise, we become aware of the inner stirrings of our heart and so can tend to them; as we tend to them, a greater wholeness and quietness settles within.
Most people I know live in frantic interaction with others and pay scant attention to their own selves, and it’s to their loss. Frankly, I think many people don’t want to look at what’s in their heart. But as we do, as we pay attention and tend to our own heart, the reward is peace and quiet within and a greater awareness of the presence of God.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, ESV)
(Picture was taken at the Learning Forest, Singapore Botanic Gardens).
“How did you ever become a Christian? You were never ‘religious’!” said my sister-in-law. My father was even more dramatic, announcing to my sister, “She’s going to be a missionary!” (I guess he equated being a Christian with being a missionary). How did it all begin?
It began in early childhood.
My siblings were going to an Anglican school and the Bible was part of their syllabus. I went to a secular school where mother was teaching and it was more convenient for me, the youngest, to be schooled there. I was an avid reader, poring through everything I could find, and one day, I found the New Testament.
When I opened the pages to the Gospel of Matthew, a supernatural calm fell on me. The Presence and Person of God was rising through the words in this holy book, and I was at peace. My first encounter with God was through the Word.
Almost immediately after, my mind was attacked by weird thoughts. “That was strange,” I thought.
Days later, I went back to the Gospel, and there was again, that wonderful peace and calmness of Jesus coming through the words. And shortly after, the attack on my mind came again.
That was my first experience of spiritual warfare. And it did work on me, a child. I associated cause and effect, and didn’t continue with the Word.
When I was 11, my second brother died suddenly in an accident. He was only 16. The vicar in that school and his wife, New Zealanders, comforted my parents during that time of grief and loss, and invited us to church. My parents went.
My first time in church, I marveled at the atmosphere of peace in the midst of all the activity, and looked forward to the breakfast of hot tea with milk, biscuits, cheese or egg cucumber sandwiches served in small rectangles of white bread piled neatly together. Church was food, drink and fellowship.
I was put in Sunday School and the vicar’s wife looked for me in that class. I don’t recall what I was doing, perhaps colouring, but when I looked up, I saw the bluest eyes I had ever seen looking back at me. I was totally mesmerised, drawn in by the depth and clarity of her eyes. Jesus was looking at me through her eyes. Church was care, compassion and the love of Jesus.
Some months later, the vicar and his wife returned to New Zealand and my parents didn’t like their replacements. So, we never went back to church either.