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Some Quiet Words for Lent

Speak up with confidence!! That seems to be the message of the world. Proclaim yourself out there. Usually we see those who do lots of that as the confident ones. But so often God’s message to us is the opposite of what the world says.“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength”. (Isaiah 30:15) That was the translation of the words in the version my grandmother quoted when she gave me that verse on my confirmation day in Windsor, January 13th, 1963. I can still see the words in her homey rounded handwriting on a vellum card, pasted on the black inner lining pages of one of my grandfather’s Bibles that she passed on to me. Dear Granny Kay, dear, dear wife of my saintly grandfather, a beloved Canadian bishop who had died in London, Ontario seven years before that day. She and he exemplified that verse for me, and for many others. Their quiet strength, their humble trust and confidence in God helped to build the bedrock of my faith’s foundation.

I have been reflecting on that verse for more than just a Lenten season or two. In particular I have been pondering it in relation to many events and concerns in my faith journey that I have the privilege of sharing with you on this blog. Knowing that you will be waiting for encouraging words on my day to write gives me reason to more intentionally reflect on ways that God speaks to me as I go through my days. It is an incredibly rewarding experience. Perhaps when we each have to pull together thoughts for others we come up with much that enriches our own lives and thinking. And what is really important is what the words do for us, for all that really matters is what is going on in our own hearts, and between us and God.

Our constant inner chatter, surface voices or deep truths expressed in the riddles of our dreams, is known to God as well as to us. He knows and hears it all, and seeks to have His loving words break through the chatter, bring His voice of truth into the bedlam of our fears, hopes and dreams. And how else can we hear His voice than by being quiet? That doesn’t mean taking a vow of silence for the season of Lent, or not sharing our concerns with others. It might even mean finding our voices in new ways, as I have done through writing on a blog. Each of us will know what it means to be quiet, just as each of us will know what it means to have our confidence in God, and finding our strength there. Some of the other translations for Isaiah 30:15 use the word trust instead of confidence, making it very clear that it is our trust in God that gives us confidence.

My prayer for each of us, and especially for myself, is that in this season of Lent, as we prepare ourselves for the commemoration of those great events which are the source of our confidence and trust, the death and resurrection of our mighty humble Saviour and King , Jesus Christ, is that we will find new ways to be quiet within our hearts and minds, and new ways to grow in confidence and trust in Him.


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