Daily Riches: Restlessness and Grace (A. B. Simpson)

“… a friend placed in my hand a book called True Peace. It was an old mediaeval message, and it had but one thought – that God was waiting in the depths of my being to talk to me if I would only get still enough to hear His voice. I thought this would be a very easy matter, and so began to get still. But I had no sooner commenced than a perfect pandemonium of voices reached my ear, a thousand clamoring notes from without and within, until I could hear nothing but their noise and din. …It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them and to answer some of them; but God said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Then came the concert of thoughts for tomorrow, and its duties and cares; but He said, “Be still.” And as I listened … and shut my ear to every sound, I found after a while that when the other noises ceased … there was a still small voice in the depths of my being that began to speak with an inexpressible tenderness, power and comfort. …it became to me the voice of prayer, the voice of wisdom, the voice of duty, and I did not need to think so hard, or pray so hard, or trust so hard; but that ‘still small voice’ of the Holy Spirit in my heart was God’s prayer in my secret soul, was God’s answer to all my questions, was God’s life and strength for soul and body, and became the substance of all knowledge, and all prayer and all blessing: for it was the living GOD Himself as my life, my all. It is thus that our spirit drinks in the life of our risen Lord and we go forth to life’s conflicts and duties like a flower that has drunk in, through the shades of night, the cool and crystal drops of dew. But as dew never falls on a stormy night, so the dews of His grace never come to the restless soul.” A. B. Simpson

“Be still, and know that I am God….” Psalm 46:10

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you think of “being still” as easy? optional?
  • Are you a “restless soul?”
  • Is God waiting for you to “get still enough to hear his voice?”

Abba, help.

For More: Streams in the Desert by Charles Cowman

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

10 thoughts on “Daily Riches: Restlessness and Grace (A. B. Simpson)

  1. When I am told “be still”, I find that quite hard. It reminds me of being told to “sit still!”, i.e. “don’t move!”, in particular in church as a child. Which is why it’s not helping me to pray when I hear those words. It’s easier for me to translate this into “relax” (like in one of your recent posts). Or in a longer version, “no need to respond to everything, just let it all go by for a little while, let’s spend some time together”… I’m learning to rewrite things so words don’t stand in the way of what they’re trying to convey.

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    • That’s a very good point Anyushka. In the interview with Walter Brueggemann in today’s post (the Krista Tippett link), you’ll hear the two of them discussing how certain great words are just too loaded to really be useful anymore. It’s a great interview.

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      • I wouldn’t have thought that studying theology would also mean studying poetry. I’m delighted… Thanks for this resource! God as disruption, that’s interesting.
        Ah, now I hear them talk about language and political connotations etc and the task of the preacher to talk about what is underneath the issue… I love this so much that he sees the prophets as poets and how much value poetic language gains in what the work of the prophets is for the people. “Finding other words”. Which is exactly my experience of my own writing. And it makes me think that I would actually be able to contribute something valuable if I went down the road that leads to preaching… Maybe choice language is as important there as it is for me personally…
        I was thinking that to find other ways of saying things is one thing. The other is – do we learn how to listen? Who teaches us that? I think for people to learn how to listen well, how to be fully present to what someone else says, with the only task being listening and not judging and not already thinking of the next “but…” That would be valuable learning…

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      • Ah, and the question, “What does a healthy church look like for you?” How healthy can any institution be that is made and run by us complicated, generally slightly messed up people… I wonder. And so much, so much depends on good leadership. And I wonder how much good leadership there is at the moment, or has been there in the last years. Actually, I get the impression that because it’s all gone downhill for a while now, so, really because the need has become so urgent, some people are standing up and becoming leaders who would maybe not have thought of themselves as suited to that role. Those who have not sought leadership for the sake of ambition become leaders for the sake of others who need what they can offer.

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      • The church “flattening out” the images…and that being “deathly”… wow, he really is rather good to listen to! opening space in images, closing it all down in formula… From metaphor to idol… That rings so many interesting bells…
        (sorry, I’m keeping a running commentary while listening to this :)….)

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      • leaving God space to disrupt us in those images. a gift that keeps on giving……… this is a brilliant conversation for me. I studied literature, especially poetry, and all this talking in a context I love, he’s speaking my language…

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      • opening the reality of God by how we address God…and how it stuns people to realise how spacious God is, whether his son hears him talk to the “king of the universe” or whether a parish hears their priest say “she” for the first them when they are talking about God… it matters…

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      • I’m really glad you listened to Brueggemann. He’s a treasure. Very provocative stuff. Krista Tippett’s show is also something to check out. It’s regularly very special, and she is a contemplative Christian, engaging her guests on intersections between faith and whatever their specialty is. Always interesting, challenging and delightful.

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