Hi everyone. Rob here.
In the older versions of the NIV Zephaniah 3:17 says that God will quiet us with his love. I am struggling to experience that at the moment. Work is busy as planning for 2017 coincides with finishing 2016 well. I got my thesis due date extended and I now have just 6 weeks to finish it. My kids are busy with sport and Kiley is busy with kids. My lawns are suffering from Spring madness and, being a politically-minded kind of guy, I keep obsessing over the American elections and its associated headlines. In other words, my soul isn’t still because I haven’t allowed it to be still.
Here’s how the whole verse of Zephaniah 3:17 reads in the New Living Translation:
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
We have started pillow notes in our family. We leave a message for our kids to read and then they will write us one. They are messages that communicate love and delight in each other. It’s a beautiful thing and the kids take them to heart (as do the parents!). This is what God is doing for the Israelites in this passage and it’s what he does for us too. Our job is to be still for long enough to receive God’s message of love and delight for us and in us.
That sounds easy enough right? But it’s not, because engaging in intimate conversation requires a sacrifice of time and emotional energy that we too often avoid making. If we’re busy jumping from one deed to the next or one thought to the next, we are never in a place to receive what God wants to give us. We know this in our relationships. It’s amazing how much time can slip by before you realise that you haven’t engaged your spouse or friend or child in proper conversation or taken them out for a date. If we’re not intentional our relationships end up lacking something – the relating part. It’s very hard to give love or receive love if the other has their back turned or are never home. As Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30:
28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
So this week I’m going to pay attention to my habits. Are they helping or hindering? Are they quickening my soul or quieting it? Are they helping me to receive my Father’s love or are they causing me to turn away? I’m thinking about my smart phone and my fidgety checking of messages and headlines. I’m thinking about playing with my kids and spending more time outside. I’m thinking about how quickly I eat and whether I’m expressing true thankfulness in life. There are so many areas where I need to turn to God and invite him in. How about you? What are the habits that need changing for you? May we get our priorities straight and may our God love us into quietness.
Grace and peace.