I’m sitting here this morning on day 6 of our paradisaical vacation on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. In case you’re not familiar, it’s about 400 miles southeast of The Bahamas, and 100 miles or so north of Haiti/Dominican Republic. It’s absolutely Edenic gorgeous, and not overly crowded to boot–pretty dreamy. In fact, Grace Bay Beach here is consistently, and currently, ranked as “Best Beach in the World” by Tripadvisor.
This particular morning I sit in silence with Papa Yahweh, doing some lectio divina in John 14, then simply sitting still as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean sweetly serenade me into holy tranquility….perhaps my favorite song. As I enjoy so vividly our good God’s wonderfully excellent handiwork in this richly uninhibited atmosphere, in which it is so conducive to calm and for hearing the whispers of Pneuma, these thoughts come to mind:
Coming to a place such as this is much like entering the Divine Presence of Jesus in reverential silence. Who in their right mind would not jump on this if given the opportunity??
Being afraid of, averse to, or avoidant of silence, is kind of like being averse to going on a paid vacation to paradise. What you find there is too good not to go. It’s worth overcoming whatever obstacles may be blocking your way. Maybe you’re nervous about flying, or being away from your family or work, or getting sick while you’re there…
But if you do indeed push thru and make it to the island, you realize that no sacrifice was too small to get there. The beauty, the air, the sound of the ocean; it’s all magnificent, and extremely favorable to regaining perspective which may have been lost, and clearing your mind of accumulated clutter.
Now this doesn’t mean that everything is smooth as glass to get there. You may have to wake up super early for that morning flight. then there’s the layover, going thru customs, finding your luggage and a ride to your abode for the week. But again, once you get to that house on the beach, you realize just how worth it all of the hassle was, just how small those obstacles look in the rear view mirror now, with the ocean right in front of you.
I think this metaphor illuminates nicely the rich experience of silence with our Maker, Father, Friend.
It might take a minute to get there, but once you settle in with Jesus alone, with the gaze of your heart transfixed on Him, open to what His Spirit would like to say to you or give you, it is then that you realize and experience what we’re made for–communion with our Creator.
I know I hammer this silence thing a lot, but I can’t help but notice what a lack we suffer from, and how much I believe God desires to share with us. Talking with a close friend on this trip, he was telling me how he’ll sometimes try to start a small group time with just five minutes of silence, asking everyone to be still and wait to talk or write until the full five minutes is up; inevitably, someone will start writing something down only two or three minutes in, which gives some sort of unspoken permission for everybody else to start talking, and they’ve barely made it halfway thru 5 minutes of silence. At the other end of the spectrum, another friend on this same trip shared with me his monumentally transformative experience years ago at The Great Banquet, a retreat in which pretty much all outside noise is quelled so that you’re actually able to hear God and tangibly feel His love.
I’m telling you, we’re missing so much of what the Holy Spirit would love to give us. It’s like going to the airport and getting a coffee at the food court, but not getting on the plane. You just go back home and think, “Oh what a nice little getaway that was!”
You had tickets to literally the best beach in the world, but you settled for airport Starbucks.
Take the time, go thru the hassles, and break away to the island where Jesus wants to meet with you alone. It’s always worth it.