Years ago Phil Collins sang a song which talked about the fact that we often don’t realise the good we have until we lose it. I found that with my daily quiet time in India last year. I had been having quiet times every morning for about seven years and have, over time, realised the benefits of them.
Soon after arriving in India however, as we had been getting up early and going places, I had not taken the time to spend with God in quietness and contemplation, however short. But once I did start it again, it hit me how ‘un-relaxed’ I had been over the previous week or so. Just sitting here doing some reading and taking in what is before me made me see again what I had missed. I felt somewhat more relaxed, and able to think a little more clearly, and, most importantly, to realise again the importance of being loving and not letting my emotions dictate my actions, especially as I was pretty tired most of the time.
As a pastor of mine said years ago, “as for quiet times, keep having them.” They are invaluable. They are invaluable any time, but especially in our 24/7 society when we are constantly bombarded with the message of getting for ourselves and of filling our lives with stuff and ‘noise’. Someone coined the term ‘noisy souls’ to describe this constant in-filling of entertainment into our lives. We are constantly wired in our society. Ever since Cliff Richard sang about being wired for sound back in the 80s, we have been more and more removed from ourselves and our neighbours by the constant plugging-in of our lives to technology.
The irony about spending time with God in quietness though is that we soon see that by emptying ourselves and letting God in, we find that very thing we are desperately searching for by trying to constantly fill our lives with stuff.
Quiet times can become a legalistic discipline though, where we just do it because it is the Christian thing to do, and we end up doing it out of duty. What I have found helps me each morning is, before I start reading, to ask God to fill me with His Spirit and give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and an open heart to receive what He has to say to me through what I am about to read.
Discipline is a good thing. It is not legalistic to come before your best friend and Teacher to learn. That’s what a disciple does, they sit at the feet of their teacher. And that’s where the word discipline comes from. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s quiet time.