Lyla goes to the monastery.

Every week or so, Lyla goes to the monastery. She’s making headroom. She writes about her trip each week. More accurately, she writes from her trip.  She’s not providing steps on a journey somewhere. She’s providing rest areas.

I read her words. I stop. There is such immense quiet, paintings of silence between her words.  I want to sit on the little benches in art museums and look at the silence.

I am, I confess, a little jealous.

But in truth I am convicted. There is nothing stopping me from quiet except me.

I remember a sermon I preached once, four or so years ago. I talked about “be stilling”. Not about “being still”. That’s what happens when I respond to “be stilling.” “Be stilling” is what God did to Elijah.

Elijah had told the king that it wouldn’t rain. It didn’t. Years later he had a face-off with the king’s prophets. It was a call-down-fire-from-heaven face-off. Elijah – and his God – won. Then Elijah told the king that it would rain. It did.

In that moment of victory, the queen said she’d get Elijah. His heart, bouyed by adrenalin, collapsed.

You know the feeling. I do too. We get to the top and find it an emotional abyss.

Elijah ran til he collapsed. An angel gave him breakfast and courage. He walked forty days to the mountain of God. A whole lent of fasting and wondering and waiting to hear God, waiting to tell God off.

Yes, we know that feeling.

At the mountain of God, God said, “yes?” Elijah dumped his fear, his anger, his devotion, his doubt. There was tornado. And earthquake. And firestorm. The godly acts of power useful when you fear an enemy. But that wasn’t God’s voice.

Instead, a quiet whisper. Elijah was “be stilled.”

If you are joining me in 7×7, read Mark 1. (Here’s an FAQ page). If you would like a couple questions to ask after you read, ask Jesus how exactly he made himself take time away. Or how he handled all the requests he always got.

4 thoughts on “Lyla goes to the monastery.

  1. Lyla Lindquist

    Every now and then, Jon, a person has the invaluable opportunity to receive some clarity as to whether what they’re doing is what they meant to do, as they see that thing through another’s lens.

    You’ve just given me that this morning, and I am more than grateful.

    As I read that text on Elijah’s stilling this morning, I notice something I had not before. Elijah did not get up and go to the entrance to the cave until the crashing, thunderous sounds ceased. When he heard the whisper, he covered his face and went to the opening. I’ve always read that, and been taught, as Elijah looking for God in all the great and mighty sounds first. And now I wonder if he didn’t just know to wait for the quiet all along.

    Thank you, Jon.


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