My soul, wait silently for God alone; for my expectation is from Him (Psalm 62:5 NKJV).
Friend to Friend
The alarm went off. Surely there was some kind of mistake. Nope! Time to get up and face another day of appointments, writing deadlines, piles of laundry … and you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I fell back in bed, exhausted. I need a vacation! Right? But I need more than a physical timeout. My soul needs rest. My heart needs solitude. My mind turned to a man in the Bible who probably felt the same way – Elijah.
Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next we find him sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.
Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshippers. Big stuff! In fact, I thought he should have been celebrating. So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.
Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and widely known as the real power behind her husband’s throne. Jezebel did not worship the one true God of Israel. Instead, she was fanatical in her worship of the pagan god, Baal, and tried to impose her beliefs on the people of Israel.
One man stood in her way – Elijah. When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel, God answered Elijah’s prayer with a stream of fire from heaven. You would think that a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in God.
In fact, Jezebel was furious. When she learned what had happened on Mt. Carmel with the fire and idols, she put a contract out on Elijah. Now stop and think about that for a moment.
Elijah had been in the presence of God. God had heard and answered Elijah’s prayer, putting on an impressive fiery display for all to see. Idols had fallen. The prophets of Baal had either fled or been destroyed. And Elijah is worried about one angry woman?
Elijah was tired and needed to rest. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up. I know. God had shown up in big ways for Elijah, but this time, Elijah needed a personal, one-on-one encounter with his Father. I’ve been there.
Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, refreshing rain. I’m just with Him, and He is with me. At His feet, I find healing and restoration as He gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere and that I can count on Him to be with me – no matter what!
There are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. I’m lonely and don’t understand what God is doing. I’m tired of being hurt and disappointed and quitting seems like the easiest way out. My energy is gone, and no one seems to understand.
It doesn’t really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come. Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before. It was there that His truth changed the course of my life.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone; for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5 NKJV).
Oh, I had read the book of Psalms many times, but as I sat at His feet, I began to learn how to wait on God. I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him. I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am.
During those precious moments, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.
I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. Yes, time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?
Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I find there. Please help me apply the truths I find sitting at Your feet. 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 this week to spend in silence before God.
More from the Girlfriends
While sitting at the feet of Jesus, pray! We have over-complicated prayer. In its purest form, it is talking with and listening to God. Most of us have the talking part down. The listening part – not so much! Chairtime is the story of how my husband learned to listen to God. It changed his life, and it can change yours!
Need encouragement … a friend to help you on your journey? Are you a pastor’s wife or Women’s Ministry leaders? I can help you. Check out my coaching ministry, Friends for the Journey.
© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
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