I slept in Thursday morning so my daily appointment on the back screened in porch was delayed until about 8:o’clock. The sun was well on its way in its daily journey across Indiana, the skies that day perfectly blue, not even a puff of cloud. By that time in the morning, the chatter of birds was mostly silenced. I missed their usual accompaniment as I read Ezekiel 34 and Psalm 46, 47.
And then the concert began. The silence was broken by the sound of a big commercial lawn mower a few houses down, sounding like an extended riff from an electric guitar. Percussion was added by a roofing crew with the rythmic sound of several nail guns, sounding as if they might have had a maestro to keep them in time. An occasional bird would add a little flute sound to the orchestra. It really was quite beautiful. I’m not one with a highly creative imagination, but I really was in awe of what I heard.
Then, without warning, renewed silence — But it was a silence that invited the birds to sing again. Then I could hear the traffic from 465 three miles off, then barely audible surging of engines and some banging from the Martin Marietta mine just a mile away. A single engine airplane flew overhead. These sounds did not remind me of an orchestra.
But as a lawn mower cranked up again, all other sounds disappeared.
And I thought – What other things are in my life that are so loud I can’t sense anything else, or hear the voice of God? So I was drawn back to Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God.
A tool I often use to accompany my morning reading of Scripture is called The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions. The old Puritans help me to slow down, to hear and see, drawing from Scripture and applying it very personally to life; helping me to know myself and the great vacuum in my life that can only be filled by God.
Here is the selection from that morning – God the Source of All Good
O Lord God, Who inhabitest eternity,
The heavens declare thy glory,
The earth thy riches,
The universe is thy temple;
Thy presence fills immensity,
Yet thou hast of thy pleasure created life,
and communicated happiness;
Thou hast made me what I am,
and given me what I have;
In thee I live and move and have my being;
Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation,
and wisely administers all my affairs.
I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus,
for the unclouded revelation of him in thy Word,
where I behold his Person, character, grace, glory,
humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection;
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood,
and cry with Job, ‘I am vile’,
with Peter, ‘I perish’,
with the publican, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’.
Subdue in me the love of sin,
Let me know the need of renovation as well as
in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever.
I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus,
with nothing of my own to plead,
no works, no worthiness, no promises.
I am often straying,
often knowingly opposing thy authority,
often abusing thy goodness;
Much of my guilt arises from my religious privileges,
my low estimation of them,
my failure to use them to my advantage,
But I am not careless of thy favour or regardless of
Impress me deeply with a sense of thine
omnipresence, that thou art about my path,
my ways, my lying down, my end.
(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust)