“So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire.” Nehemiah 2:11-13
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
…a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,6,7
When Nehemiah was released by King Artaxerxes to return and repair the Jerusalem wall, he experienced remarkable permission and protection for the journey by the grace of his God, in answer to his prayer. Yet once he arrived, he needed to take time again to refocus on this faithful Lord to understand his next steps. Before jumping in to help with the trouble and destruction of his city, he took three days to hear from Him how to proceed. It was vital for him to be still before taking action, and that he did at measured pace. This instilled practice served him well then, and in challenging times to come. (Nehemiah 1:4-2:8; 5:6-10)
Watching shore birds as I walked, my attention was drawn to those that stood, for long moments, facing the wind and the loud waves it folded like thick liquid batter onto the sand, over and over. ‘Be still,’ seemed their morning mantra. ‘Be still and take it all in.’ Then, as though called by an inaudible voice, they turned and tittered off, leaving an imprint of their time at rest.
Am I still long enough to leave an imprint on my space of quiet, and have the Lord leave His on me? The time of focused devotion, of taking it all in-Christ’s living water, soul-delight in my Savior, the wind of His Spirit’s voice and leading- is what compels me forward with His mindset, poise, and countenance. It equips me to leave tracks through my days, sweet love prints by way of encouragement, kindness, a smile, a truth spoken, among friends and acquaintances. There is a time for both the stopping and the going, and there must be. (Isaiah 61:10; John 7:37-39)
How willing are we to stop our natural momentum and give some structure to staying still before the Lord? What specific urges, bents, items on the agenda need we set aside, or delay, so we can spend long moments taking in our Savior, His wisdom, His love? Would we fix our souls in Him before getting along our way, or do we drag Him behind as a magic charm, a quick check off the list, a token name-drop, with no real connection?
Because of my time in quiet with my Lord, what print might I leave on another’s heart, hope, or attitude by spoken concern, loving interest, willingness to offer God’s balm for their hurt, or blessing for their efforts?
Good Father, so imprint my life with Your Spirit’s wind and living water that I leave Christ-shaped prints through my days.