Life On the Edge (Day 31): The Sins of the Fathers
What Buechner Gives Us

Life On the Edge (Day 32): Being Still

7504600113 Over 25 years ago I was a part of a small group using the Navigators 2-7 Bible study and scripture memorization system.  It's amazing what has stuck from that series.  Even though I've done little to no scripture memorization since then, I can still remember many of the verses I learned back then.  When I consider how much I have forgotten since then this is a minor miracle.  I cannot even remember everyone that was in that small group.

One of the things we did as a group then, whether recommended by Navigators or done on our own initiative, was to go to a wooded local state park, spread out, and armed with nothing but a Bible, spend a half day in prayer.  Alone.  I assume I did pray and read my Bible, but I remember thinking that I'd never make it, that I would have nothing to do at some point.  I'm sure at that time in my life (well, and often since) I'd never prayed more than 20 minutes at one time , and then not often that much.  I remember how quiet it was, about fighting the thought that we were wasting time, but then enjoying the simple solitude and opportunity to talk to God about literally everything I could think of and then some, and then, finally, when I couldn't do that any longer, to meditate on scripture and listen to the world around me.  It was an unusual experience.  (And keep in mind this was before cell phones and the Internet or even computers for that matter were in widespread use.)  Could I do the same now?

Solitude is a way of being powerless before God, of giving up our striving to please God or anyone else.  At the end of solitude there is no product you can point to, nothing you have actually accomplished (nothing to be proud of, really).  And when you finish talking to God, when you get all that out of the way, you can finally just shut up and listen.  We live in a state of perpetual distraction, unable to simply be still.  Like Moses, Elijah, Job, or Isaiah, when we worship our best is when we simply bow before him and rest.

Maybe a dark closet is the best place, after all.  Not much there to distract.