When I was at uni I got myself a small notebook and asked my friends to write notes, or verses in it as an encouragement for me. This was at a time when my brain was particularly frazzled. I still remember that this was the first time I came across the Bible verse Zephaniah 3:17. It is now one of the few verses that I know off by heart, one that I will share with friends, and even wrote on a pupils shirt on their last day of school.
I was reminded of this verse yesterday, as I was walking to school listening to my Bible in One Year podcast, and this was part of the Old Testament reading. It says (ESV)
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
As I said, I have read this verse so many times, I have shared this verse so many times, but yesterday I heard it in a new way, a way that I needed to hear it in.
Regular readers will know that I have spoken about ‘radio silence’ this is the phrase E has started to use when I shut myself off, when I refuse to reply to her daily and many texts, and this has now extended to when I don’t have a cuppa with D and hide in my room at work – sometimes even with lights off! This has been occurring more over the last year, as my situation has changed and as I have been struggling to cope with what has been going on.
But when I heard this verse yesterday I realised that actually, I’ve been dealing with things wrong. We are told in this verse God will quieten us with his love. When I’m struggling I hide away, but last week after E was particularly persistent with me. I decided I was going to write a blog but I shared it with her first. We came to the realisation that it was possibly a little too honest to be completely shared with the world. However, I shared it with a group of ladies who regularly pray for me.
The response I got was rather overwhelming, really beautiful messages of encouragement, as well as honest “I don’t know what to say” but what I have really felt is this sense of envelopment in prayer, in love, in encouragement.
Through not hiding away, and choosing my own quiet, and I have experienced God in my midst, rejoicing over me, rejoicing in me, quietening me, and exalting me. This has been partly through those friends who responded, but also because I’ve acknowledged what’s going on.
It’s easy to choose quiet, but we can also choose to allow ourselves to be quitened. One arguably involves more risk than the other, but will also be more effective and longer lasting.
I know what I’m going to try to choose … emphasis on the try!