Are we having fun yet? Ella Fitzgerald tells us, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” However, for some, especially those “blessed” with children and grandchildren, summer means ratcheting up a few notches with traveling to vacation destinations, going on day trips, attending sporting events, having cookouts, going camping, hiking, biking, boating, swimming and countless other activities which can only be done in the summer and during school vacation. By the time August rolls around, both children and adults need a vacation after their vacation. That’s when the August crickets come to serenade us with their calming, quiet concert of comforting chirping. I always look forward to hearing the August crickets singing me to sleep each August night. I pretend they’re singing, “Happy Birth-Month, dear Lydia; Happy Birth-Month to you” on their violins. Yes, I know they are using their wings to make their familiar chirping sound. Yes, I know it’s a mostly male cricket mating call to attract eligible female crickets. Yes, I know Jiminy Cricket is a Disney cartoon character and is not real. All that doesn’t spoil my enjoyment in pretending when listening to crickets and the solace it brings me when listening to them singing “Good-bye” to summer. The chirping of August crickets is a very soothing sound.
Another peaceful sound I like to hear is the purring of my two sister kitty cats, Tannin and Tulip. Don’t let their initials (T and T) fool you. Tulip Tiger and Tannin Bear are the most PURRR-fect roomies a human being could ever have. We have been housemates for about seventeen years without one squabble or disagreement. Cats are connoisseurs of comfort and relaxation. If you want to learn about how to enjoy leisure time, just study a cat for a few hours. Tannin loves to take “cat naps” with me, after I spend a long time blogging. Tulip likes to share “her” bed with me when it’s time for me to go to bed. Whenever I’m anxious or frazzled about anything, either Tulip or Tannin will come to provide some “pet therapy” for me. Each time, it’s like they are saying, “Just pet me and pet all your worries away. I’m here for you.” Each time they come to my aid, they purr. Tannin purrs softly and Tulip purrs loudly. Purring is a sign of contentment in a cat. My “roomies” seem to transfer their contentment over to me with their comforting purring sounds they make.
The peaceful chirping of August crickets and the gentle purring of kitty cats are best heard when my surroundings are quiet. Silence helps to hear what is normally missed in our sensory-overload world filled with the noise of our thoughts being occupied with everything but peace and quiet. We fill our time with people, watching TV, listening to music, talking or texting on a cell phone or other electronic devices and searching the web. With all this NOISE happening twenty-four-seven, how do we ever have time to think? More importantly, when do we have time to listen to God? Listening to God is best done in the quiet, peaceful silence of His presence. When we are away from the noise of the world and venture into the solitude that is His peace, we are able to hear God’s voice and discern His will for our lives. This involves being silent ourselves in the presence of a Holy God. Instead of asking “Why?” God wants us to listen to what He wants for us to know. Instead of searching for answers in all sorts of directions, God wants us to sit and wait for Him to answer us. God may even have questions for us to examine. Instead of wanting to know everything, God wants us to rest in knowing that He is the One Who knows everything. Instead of maturing in our own independence, God wants us to wait to be filled with gratitude in knowing that God is our Father and we are His children, forever dependent on Him for everything. Being silent, resting in Him while we wait to listen to His Voice is what we so desperately need in a world that has gone “nuts” and is very NOISY.
August Crickets, purring kitty cats and the Voice of God are best heard in silent peaceful rest.
“The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a Voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13).
“My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel [Lydia], put your hope in the LORD both now and forever” (Psalm 131).
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15b).
“The fruit of righteousness will be your peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:12)
“But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).
“Come to Me [Jesus], all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
[In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus is talking about a double yoke, used for two oxen. Jesus is saying that He is right beside us and will pull the weight.]
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for everyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11).
“But there is that certain something about wanting to do the will of God. If one is sincere and if one really wants to know what His will is, all one has to do is be quiet. Shut off the television and radio, and in that silence one will always hear that still small voice in one’s heart telling him what to do” (Maria von Trapp).
“Be much in secret prayer. Converse less with man, and more with God” (George Whitefield).
Have a peaceful rest of the summer.
We will resume the study of the Gifts of the Spirit next time.