December 8, 2006
Time Under the Juniper Tree
Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Friend to Friend
I’m not very good at being silent. If there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. For much of my life, I avoided silence at all costs. I walked in the door from school, turned on the radio in one room and the television in another. I was afraid of the dark – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Over the years, I have come to learn that the seasons of silence are different in nature and purpose. Sometimes the silence falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. During those times, I am meeting the One I love the most...and just reveling in His presence. I don't have to do anything - be anything or seek anything. I am just with Him...and He is with me. I crawl up into His lap...wrap my arms around Him and just stay for awhile. During these silent times He brings healing and restoration. I fall in love all over with Him again - He reminds me that His love in unchanging and unconditional...and that He is not going anywhere!
Then there are times when the silence is like a deep, dark pit. Several years ago, I went through a two-year clinical depression that nips at my heels every moment of every day. But in that pit, I found Psalm 40:1-3. God gave it to me in the darkness, but it has become my life song in the light.
“Psalm 40:1-3 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” (NIV)
Oh, I have read the book of Psalms many times, but this time, in the silence under the Juniper tree, it settled into my soul and took root. I began to learn how to wait on God...how to cry out to Him...how to trust Him like the helpless child that I am while He lifted me up and we had what my kids call “daddy time”. During those precious times, we laugh, cry, and talk about the trials that brought me to the pit of darkness. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to Him – any circumstance that drives me into His arms can be counted as good, as a blessing!
I am learning to embrace the silent times as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.
How about you?
Father, thank You for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I was forced to stop…rest…and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I found there. Thank You for the new truth and redefined purpose for my life. I would go through it all again, Father, for that You did during my time “under the Juniper tree”. Help me to apply the truths I found there and to share Your plan of deliverance with those who now struggle with the darkness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
Do you long for times of silence or avoid them whenever possible? Why? I encourage you to find a few minutes each day to spend in silence. Establish the habit of a silent retreat when possible. Read the Psalms daily and keep your gaze on God.
For more on this topic, see Mary’s latest book, Escaping the Stress Trap.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.