If you go down to the woods today…

It’s wonderful how, as you walk with Jesus fragments of life that seem to lack meaning in themselves come together to form a meaningful whole.

I’ve been watching “The Monastery” (Tuesday evenings 9pm. BBC 2) The show tells the story of a group of men subject themselves to a 40 day period of following the monastic rule of life in the Benedictine Worth Abbey.

Let me make something clear, I’m not a monk, nor do I want to be a monk, but the program has stirred something inside deep me in a sense of the need for the contemplative way of life that can be lacking in our busy and hurried world. That was one fragment.

The other day, looking for some space and quiet to think and pray I walked into a local woodland. I didn’t at the time think it was a great time of prayer, but I think God taught me something, and the experience became another fragment that fitted with the first.

It wasn’t a great time of prayer, because I was distracted. As I stood in silence, the woodland came to life around me, and I became aware of a level of life and existence in the woods that I would never have experienced if I were with my (noisy) children, walking a dog, or just tramping along the pathways.

Standing still and silent in a woodland, I heard, and then saw, snakes and voles and squirrels, the normal life of the woods, normally hidden from the noisy.

I guess the two fragments together say something along these lines; In our noisy world we miss so much. Tramping through life at a pace, how many of the whispers of God pass us by unheard? How much more aware of him and his work would I be if from time to time I were to stand in stillness and quietness and just listen? Sometimes perhaps, I might hear nothing, but then at other times I might hear his whisper and know his presence and discern his voice. The question is will I seek him? Will I be still?

A final fragment…

Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” ESV.

I’ve been giving thought to this verse recently. The stillness that I have commended is not an end in itself. God is the reason for stillness. One repeated injunction of scripture is “Be still”

The very nature of seeking is that for a time at least the object of the search is not found. There will be times when the search seems unfruitful, but faith insists that He rewards those who seek him.


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