A Devotional Thought by Barbara Latter
A QUIET HEART
One would think that in a time of social isolation and indoor confinement we wouldn’t thirst for a time of quiet. But with the pandemic, the economic shut down, riots, fires, hurricanes, schools closed, and a national election thrown into the mix, I find myself craving QUIET! (I mean, quiet!)
A hymn I remember from my childhood comes to my mind now and then:
“Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea He speaks peace to me.
How the billows cease to roll!”
The first line of that hymn is, “Joys are flowing like a river.”
Where was my joy? Where was that blessed quietness I was seeking?
A dis-quieted heart robs us of joy. It disrupts our trust in the providence of our loving heavenly Father. It opens us to the temptation to react in ways that mar our testimony. We long for quietness and a place of tranquility.
The world tries to suggest to us many ways for finding the path to peace. We are bombarded with various methods, some of them injurious to the health of our mind and body and dangerously compromising to our faith. As believers, our first thought brings us to God’s Word for direction and comfort.
A verse that has often brought comfort to me is:
“This is what the Holy One of Israel says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
In quietness and trust is your strength’”
Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)
Aah, those are soothing and encouraging words. However, I left out the final, painful line.
“'…but you would have none of it.’”
Prior to this verse God had warned His obstinate children about taking matters into their own hands. But, using their free will, they disobeyed and sought help in other ways rather than continuing to trust God to meet their needs. We can’t judge them, can we? Don’t we often rush to handle difficulties in our own strength? Is there some way you, like me, have forged ahead, cutting your own pathway through a problem or trying to find a solution to your unrest in escapism or frantic activity? Is that why we don’t experience the rest, quietness and strength promised here?
God promises to be with us through hard times and uncomfortable circumstances. If we will but let Him, He will teach us and guide us to spiritual growth and new understanding of His love and patience. When our soul is uneasy, when we are fearful and anxious, when thoughts swirl unceasingly through our minds, God’s plan for serenity is fourfold:
Repent: turn away from anything that has interfered with your relationship to God; express sorrow for any action displeasing to Him.
Rest: realize that you cannot hurry God’s plan; nothing happening around you is a surprise to Him and He is in control.
Quiet: release your busyness and effort to fix the problem and allow God to do the work.
Trust: Say, “I do trust You, Lord to provide and care for me through this difficulty.”
The words in Isaiah 30:15 are closely tied to another familiar verse; one we often see on plaques and bookmarks:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.”
Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)
The chaos and troubles around us cannot be avoided. Having a steadfast mind means we resolutely place our trust in God’s love for us and His power to keep us in every circumstance.
Repent. Rest. Quiet. Trust. A steadfast mind. These are the steps on the path to a quiet heart.
Barbara serves on our Leadership Team and is liaison to the Missions Committee.