Daily Devotions

The Silence Is Too Loud

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But he [Jesus] would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:16)

 

 

 

Loneliness is the new buzz word. It is as if loneliness is somehow a sin. Sadly, loneliness and solitude have become synonymous. We’ve become almost fearful of someone who is often alone. “He was a quiet boy.” These seem to be the words used whenever some teenager puts on a trench coat and shoots up a school. So, we overreact, and look fearfully on anyone who appreciates solitude. Plus, with the advent of social media, the opportunities for solitude are fewer-and-fewer.

 

As an extrovert, I’ve often felt uncomfortable with silence. I am most effective when I think out loud. I need noise and concentrate best with the din of conversation going on around me. It has taken me many years to feel comfortable in solitude. There is a Presbyterian Camp in Minnesota, Camp Clearwater Forest, that has a primitive cabin available for clergy. A number of years ago, I decided to face my discomfort and hang out in the cabin by myself for a week. The first three days were painful. It was almost like having drug withdrawals (I’m guessing). The last four days, I found my groove. I enjoyed taking long walks in the woods and along the lake. I read my books, uninterrupted. They spoke to me in ways they didn’t when I was constantly interrupted. Now, I’ve come to value those rare days of solitude.

 

Zat Rana describes this process perfectly: 

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow. The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity. You learn that there are other things you are capable of paying attention to than just what makes the most noise on the surface.

 

Solitude is necessary for our relationship with God to mature. To hear God’s “still small voice,” you must turn down the surface noise. It is harder and harder for modern society to listen and hear God’s voice. Without that divine voice, we are left feeling lost and alone. Pray for God to give you a comfort level with aloneness. It is nothing to fear, it is the way to a closer walk with God.

Adversity is a Blessing?!

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For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

One of the greatest things we give our children is the ability to overcome adversity. Too often, well-meaning parents coddle, protect, and helicopter their children to such a degree that they never experience adversity. Then, all of a sudden, their children fly the nest and are quickly overwhelmed the first time they experience adversity.

As a young pastor, I watched a couple trying to help their children get ahead in life. They knew the value of good grades. They would review their children’s homework, and when it wasn’t A+ level, the parents would redo it, so their children would get better grades. This couple closely watched their children’s activities and even their friendships. Any adversity would be stealthily avoided. By the time their children were ready for college, they were so smothered they couldn’t think or react for themselves. Their parents gave them almost everything, except the ability to cope and overcome adversity. 

Overprotective parenting is not a new phenomenon. For the last few generations, overprotective parenting has continued to increase. There is nothing wrong with being careful and even protective. It becomes negative when we fail to teach our children how to address adversity. Adversity is the one thing all humans face in life. Adversity also becomes a teachable moment. Until we face adversity, we are forced to rely almost totally on our parent(s). Teaching the ones we love how to address adversity provides long-term mental and spiritual wellbeing. Only when we face adversity, do we feel the need to turn our lives over to God. In this way, adversity becomes a spiritual gift.

Today, pray for those you are responsible to raise and/or instruct. Then, pray for wisdom. Ask God to guide you, to trust God with your child. Often, our trying to control our child’s environment is done out of fear, or lack of trust in God’s divine care. Ultimately, we cannot control our children’s lives. They grow up and will be on their own. Learning how to instruct them on adversity, at their appropriate age level, is vital to strong emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Developing your own trust in God and modeling your own ability to handle adversity is the greatest teaching tool in helping your children. Continue to seek God’s direction and you will raise children that can handle all of life’s adversity and develop a strong faith.

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