One morning, I decided to get up early and watch the sun rise over the mountains. I was on retreat with some brothers in the faith, and as we rolled out of bed at 4:30 am, there was a mixture of excitement for how God would meet us, muffled by the cobb webs of lack of sleep. I arrived at my spot in the dark and sat down to spend time in silence and solitude. As the dark gave way to light, I was distracted by the thoughts of wishing the sun would come up, and break the top of the mountain that blocked my view. The sun was up, behind the mountain, so I could see all the landscape around me; but the sun still had not broken the mountain. I was growing more and more impatient. How much longer? How are the rest of the guys doing? My silence and solitude had turned into competing voices in my head. When I was finally able to quiet the voices long enough, a “still small voice” said to me “be patient with Me.” I had heard from God and I resolved myself to quiet my spirit and to be patient for the Sun/Son to break the mountain top. It finally happened. The sun broke the mountain top, beams of light spread around me, warming my face, like a soft touch. Then the small voice said, “Be patient with me, because I am patient with you.” I broke. I wept bitter tears of sorrow and grief for all the times that I had rushed my journey, seeking “spiritual growth” on my time table with what energy I had left over.
“Be patient with me, because I am patient with you.”
In our world, there are precious few moments of silence. Even less are moments of stillness and solitude. Most seek to avoid all three. Our world lies to us that when we are still, we are unproductive. When we are silent we risk being “not heard.” When we are alone, there is something wrong with us.
Jesus practiced all three silence, stillness, solitude. We are to practice all three. It takes being patient with ourselves. We can not be perfect at spiritual practices over night. Doing the hard work of discipleship takes practice and patience. The voices that tell us that we are not not “spiritual” enough, usually are the voice of then enemy trying to derail our discipleship journey.
If in your journey to be more like our Rabbi, Jesus, you find yourself frustrated with the pace, be patient with yourself, and be patient with Jesus, because Jesus is patient with you. You will find that the beauty of the journey [in silence, solitude, stillness] will deepen your intimacy and become the strength of your relationship with Jesus.