Getting something out of Quiet Times?!
This morning while brushing my teeth after breakfast, a thought, a question, flashed through my mind: What did I get out of my Quiet Time this morning? What was the significant truth I could now take with me into this new day?
As I was trying to put my mental finger on this truth (which wasn’t all that hard to do as my QT this morning had been truly inspiring and meaningful to me), it dawned on me that the question itself wasn’t all that right or helpful. Not that it was wrong; just missing the mark.
Of course, it takes a lot longer to write these thoughts down than it takes for them to pass along the corridors of one’s mind, but by this time another thought was already filling the screen on my mind. I’m quite sure the Spirit of God was behind this one – a simple reminder of the deep, underlying purpose for spending time alone with God – just to spend time alone with God! Nothing more but nothing less than experiencing the sheer enjoyment of a son being with his Father.
What kind of relationship, or what level of relationship, is it when we focus our primary attention upon how much we get out of the relationship for ourselves? Doesn’t that smell of self-centredness, even if couched in spiritual terms?
Let’s bring the question down to an everyday relational level. How do you and I feel when we are on the receiving end of fellowship with a good friend whose driving interest in being with us is “getting something” from spending time with us? Of course, if it’s listening to and taking in some wisdom we’re able to impart, then it can hardly be judged as being “wrong” or “sinful.” However, isn’t it also true that we’d just prefer, especially with overly energetic and highly motivated people, that they would just sit down and relax for a while, allowing themselves the luxury to “waste time” with us rather than trying “to achieve something” through their time with us?
As I reflected further on my time alone with God earlier this morning (probably by now the toothbrush had finished its work for the morning!), I realised that having a QT is not primarily about “getting something out of it”, or experiencing some amazing spiritual high, or coming away with some life-transforming truth that I can meditate on for the next 24 hours. (Of course, it’s a joy when we experience these outcomes.)
But whether or not I come away with “something,” there should be nothing more beautiful to me than the fact that God and I sat down together. This morning the Spirit spoke some words into my spirit (this morning from the Good News Bible rendering of Psalm 32). Some prayers were offered up as a thanksgiving offering to God (heartfelt responses to the truths from David’s pen and painful failures in life). But far, far beyond any of these, I had blessed the heart of my heavenly Father through simply giving Him some uninterrupted time. I had revelled in the spirit-warming enjoyment of simply being alone with Father. That moment had been so special and memorable.
How much did I get out of that time? How much could I recall from what I had read? Above all, it was the precious memory of that time, rather than specific outcomes.
Isn’t that similar to the way we feel after we’ve spent a very special evening with our beloved life’s partner? We have memories: of loving words exchanged, of touching one another, of holding each other’s hands, of having been held in a loving embrace. A beautiful, pleasurable and enjoyable memory for both. An experience that invigorates both for other tasks and responsibilities. An encounter that cannot but deepen and enrich the relationship.
But even the delights of most intimate human relationships cannot be compared with the spiritual pleasures and delights we may enjoy through our times alone with God. Let’s more than anything else set our mind and our heart on simply spending time alone with Father: adoring Him, listening to Him, and giving Him the sheer delight of having some time-out with one of His very precious kids!
Perhaps when we think this way about our Quiet Times, some of the people we later mix with and minister to throughout the day might see something we can’t see ourselves – faces and lives shining with the captivating glory of God. Oh, that more of us, God’s servants, might spread the light of God’s glory in this way.
October 3, 2006