Editor's note: Wendy Blight knows what it's like to feel like peace has evaporated and nothing is "normal" anymore. In her new book Rest for Your Soul, she shares how to connect with God through three holy habits — solitude, silence, and prayer. Enjoy this devotion from Wendy written for Devotionals Daily.
The words I’m sharing today come from the pages of my new book, Rest for Your Soul: A Bible Study on Solitude, Silence, and Prayer. I’ve titled today’s devotion, “Slip Away to A Quiet Place.” Our key verse comes from the book of Romans,
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. — Romans 15:4 NIV
During the worst of my anxiety, enclosed spaces felt like the walls were closing in on me. Groups and crowds brought on full blown panic attacks. My solution. To never leave my house. I missed work events, parties, showers, weddings and even a funeral for someone I loved.
Do you find yourself in a season of deep unsettledness?
I think Jesus may have experienced that same unsettledness as He walked with His friends into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew His assignment. The persecution, pain and suffering that lay ahead.
Friend, I don’t know about you, but when I see Jesus feeling my feelings, I want to learn from Him… watch what He does… pay attention to what He says.
Matthew 26 tells us Jesus left His friends and went deeper into the Garden to pray and receive strength, processing His agony as He surrendered His will to His Father’s.
This gives us a beautiful picture of what it means to take a sacred pause with God. To slip away to a quiet place and wrestle through when it feels like God has forgotten us.
But I want you to know, feeling forgotten is true only according to your feelings. It’s not reality. If you remain in your lying feelings, you will continue to believe them until you make an intentional choice to step outside of your head and into God’s presence and His Word.
This is where the sacred pause of solitude comes in.
Solitude requires temporarily removing ourselves from people to be present with God.
It creates space for Him to speak Truth into the lies we’re believing. To loosen the grip dark thoughts have on us and replace them with God’s thoughts.
Blessings upon blessings are found in alone time with God. Psalm 1 shares one of my favorites.
Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers. — NIV
For me, that word “meditate” brings to mind the image of sitting quietly, pondering and reflecting upon what I’m studying. However, in Hebrew this word is “hagah.” It’s often translated ruminate, eat, or chew on something.
We find “hagah” again in Isaiah 31:4 which says,
For thus the Lord said to me, ‘As a lion or young lion growls over his prey...’ — ESV
Here “hagah” is translated “growl.”
I found that second image, devouring God’s word like a lion eats its prey, incredibly insightful and totally from mine!
I’m inviting you to “hagah” on our key verse today, Romans 15:4.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have Hope.
In this verse, God explains the role He intends for His Word to play in your life.
- God sent His Word for your instruction.
- God sent His Word to provide steadfastness and encouragement.
- God sent His Word to sustain your hope.
This verse gives us a new lens through which to view our circumstances… God’s lens that encourages us to press on… endure… be steadfast.
It also tells us that same Word will sustain our hope.
The Bible reveals story upon story of people just like you and me pressing through the hard seasons, enduring and finding encouragement and hope even when everything in them wanted to turn back, give up, or walk away.
Friend, never forget your sacred pauses with God in His Word gird your mind to live steadfastly, abide in hope, even in the midst of your unsettled soul.
Invitation for You: Commit to a daily time of solitude this week. Take one sacred pause with God each day. Here are a few verses to meditate on during your time with God. Hebrews 1:3 (God’s glory), Colossians 3:12-13 (loving and forgiving others), Psalm 4:8 (peace and rest).
Prayer for you:
Lord, please settle my friend’s unsettled soul. Help her to carve out time to sit with You and “hagah” on Your Word. Minister to her heart and her hurt as You did Jesus in the Garden. She’s waiting to receive the words of encouragement You have for her to quiet her heart and help her endure what she’s walking through. We trust You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Wendy Blight, author of Rest for your Soul.
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Are you unsettled? Do you feel troubled by unease and anxiety? Slip away to a quiet place and be present with God. Hagah on His Word and stay with it until you finding encouragement and hope even in the middle of wanting to turn back, give up, or walk away. God has not forgotten you! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily