I got up and got out all of my important things one recent, sunshiny dawn—Bible, prayer list, devotional, glasses so I could read any of the aforementioned—preparing to start my day like many others, with God, immersing myself in the water of life (Jn 4:14). Instructions for the beginning of the day, as per my devotional, are to first spend several minutes in silence and stillness with God. I don’t seem to have an innate facility for either, so I fumbled through this part of my routine, per usual.

Also per usual, the distractions bombarded—the dog sneezed a fit, the hallway clock chimed almost forever, and the world’s loudest garbage truck crawled its way down the street. What little of my attention remained, drifted from: What am I going to have for breakfast? to What do I need to accomplish today? to What am I going to have for breakfast? Did I mention I’m not very good at this part of my devotions? 

This time, however, for some reason specially prompted (Hint: Holy Spirit at work—Rom 8:26; Phil 2:13), I decided to mention my concentration woes to God: You’re going to have to do something, God. I’m trying and trying, but I’m dry as dust here. Then I sat there in inner silence for a whole minute. Wait! What?! Yes, it was already happening. I celebrated the silence with gratitude to God for answering my flash prayer and gave my success a mental checkmark. Then, emboldened to go for more, I took a deep breath and turned to the stillness part of my routine. 

At first I tried through focused effort to keep my body perfectly still but for the breathing (try not to think of a pink elephant while you’re at it). Soon enough, though, I recognized a jumpiness in me that was deeper than physical motion; the mere awareness of which seemed to move me, surprisingly, not away from, but gently forward to face each instance of unease in succession. And it was through that unexpected process that I began to feel my internal restlessness subside and more of God’s presence envelop me. It was all very peaceful, I can tell you. I was immersing.

And with that second morning success to build on, several serene minutes passed by before my mind wandered to the thought: Did that, too; check. This was followed by a completely nervy suggestion that went something like this: God, that was wonderful. Perhaps now we can go on to the more tangible parts of this morning’s routine. Misguided as that was, it turned out to be my breakthrough moment—when I became aware of a gentle voice that seemed to come out of eternity to reach my conscience with a message as clearly delivered as if someone were saying it while standing right next to me (I gather Someone was; Ps 118:6-9, NIV). And the words of the voice were: “This is the most tangible thing you’ll do all day, my boy.” 

I knew right away that was true and that God had shown me something special I had been missing for some time. I continued in that sweet spot for another ten minutes of eternity. A veritable soak.

I hope this encourages you to persevere in your quiet time with God today.

Kevin Murray

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