The Power Of Stillness
By A. B. Simpson (1843 – 1919)
A score of years ago a friend placed in my hands a little book, which became one of the turning points of my life. It was called “True Peace,” and was an old medieval message. It had but one thought, and it was this – 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 I began to get still. But I had no sooner commenced than a pandemonium of voices reached my ears, a thousand clamoring notes from without and within, until I could hear nothing but their noise and din. Some of them were my own questions, some of them my own cares and some were my very prayers. Others were the suggestions of the tempter and the voices from the world’s turmoil. Never before did there seem so many things to be done, to be said, to be thought. In every direction I was pushed and pulled and greeted with noisy acclamations and unspeakable unrest. It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them and to answer; but God said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10).
The God of Stillness
Then came the conflict of thoughts for the morrow, with its duties and cares. But God said: “Be still.” And as I listened, and slowly learned to obey, and shut my ears to every sound, I found after awhile, that when the other voices ceased, or I ceased to hear and heed them, there was a still, small voice in the depths of my being that began to speak with an inexpressible tenderness, power, and comfort. As I listened it became to me the voice of prayer, and the voice of wisdom, and the voice of duty, and I did not need to think 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 and my all.
The Way of Stillness
The best thing about this stillness is that it gives God a chance to work. “He that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His” (Heb. 4:10). When we cease from our works, God works in us; when we cease from our thoughts, God’s thoughts come into us; when we get still from our restless activities, “God…worketh in [us] both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), and then we can hear “the still, small voice.”
There is another kind of stillness: the stillness that lets God work for us, and we hold our peace; the stillness that ceases from controversy, and self-vindication, and expedients of wisdom and forethought and lets God provide and answer the unkind word, and the cruel blow, in His own unfailing, faithful love. How often we lose God’s interposition by taking up our own cause and striking for our own defense.
There is no spectacle in all the Bible so sublime as the silent Savior answering not a word to the men that were maligning Him, and whom He could have laid prostrate at His feet by one look of Divine power, or one word of fiery rebuke. But He let them do their worst and He stood in the power of stillness – God’s Holy Lamb.
God give to us this silent power, this mighty self-surrender, this conquered spirit, which will make us “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Let our voice and our life speak like “the still, small voice” of Horeb, and as the “sound of a gentle stillness.” Then after the heat and strife of earth are over, men will remember the morning dew, the mellow light and sunshine, the evening breeze, the Lamb of Calvary, and the gentle, holy, Heavenly Dove.