One morning last week I was sitting in my chair with my laptop, looking up some scriptures for an article I was writing.
Before too long I started to hear some rustling around upstairs. Soon enough, I saw a sweet little boy with rumpled bed-hair coming down the steps. As he reached the bottom, he quickly scurried across the room to my chair, leaving me just enough time to hit “save” and put my laptop on the floor. This boy was on a mission.
Without a word and without delay, he whisked himself right onto my lap and snuggled in. Now this was no ordinary cuddle. This was legs curled up, arms tucked in, and head cuddled snugly under my chin. Mission accomplished.
I gave him my usual morning greeting: “Good morning handsome boy… how are you today?” It sure is good to see you.” And then we talked a little bit (mostly I talked and he said things like “yes”). I asked him if he slept well, which he had, and noticed that he seems to be liking his new bed — to which he agreed with a small nod of the head.
And then we just sat quietly, with my cheek resting warmly on his head, which was still tucked softly under my chin. No talking. No singing. No reading books. Just quiet comfort.
Nothing is distracting him from this moment. Not his morning juice, not the need to use the potty (it’s been all night you know!) and not a morning TV show. He is where he wants to be. He is getting everything he needs right now. These few minutes in my lap are what will set the foundation for the rest of his day.
And my thoughts turn inward, to my relationship with God. I wonder if this is a picture of how it’s supposed to be between Him and me. How often do I just sit, snuggled in tight, completely unconcerned with any other need or physical distraction?
I have to tell the truth: Sometimes I don’t really know what “Being quiet with God” really looks like. I hear about it, read about it, and want to do it, but I have to say it doesn’t come naturally.
But here is what I do know: When I have come to the end of myself, the end of my own schemes, plans, and worries, when I have come to the end of having anything to say because I have been made completely empty through my own striving, that’s when God comes and quiets my heart and refreshes my spirit.
The times that I’ve been quiet before God weren’t necessarily pretty. Sometimes it might be me literally curled up in a ball on the couch, disconnected from the distractions around me and with nothing of value to say to God. I lay there in perfect quiet, which He transforms into perfect peace. Other times it might be me sitting on the deck, just listening to the wind and allowing myself to stop talking and just listen. I may not walk away with any life-changing new wisdom, but I walk away with life-sustaining calm, and consequently, life-managing energy.
I also know that when I want to communicate with God, I can’t just talk to Him in my own language. It’s too feeble, I don’t even know what to say. I need the Holy Spirit to take my prayer and turn it into something worthy of God to hear.
Romans 8:26 (Amplified) says,
“So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. “
I was wondering: Does that mean it works the other way too? That my language (my thoughts, my perspective, my preferences, my understanding, my worries) are just a distraction between God’s thoughts and my heart? Just like the holy spirit has to interpret my words to God, I think it’s through my quiet heart the His holy spirit is able to interpret what He says to me.
We live in a society that is very uncomfortable with quiet. Shouldn’t somebody be talking? In this scenario that would mean either I’m actively praying or God is talking to me through my reading of His word. Maybe it’s about getting to a point where I’m just happy to be with God and let Him hold me quietly. Being the introvert that I am, the task of getting my mind to be quiet is about like trying to get a fish to stop swimming.
But I know it can be done because God says many times in Scripture to “be still.”
I wonder: Can I get to a point where I can be still before God even before I’m totally spent? Can I learn to be still even when things are going my way and I have plenty to say? I think I can learn something my son already knows: That a few minutes of a quiet cuddle is essential for a well-grounded day.