Still, But Not Empty

Still, but Not Empty

Be Still, and know that I am God” I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Recently, I read a book called Remember, I Love You, by Charlie W. Shedd, written some 20 years ago about the life of his wife Martha. She had passed away a couple of years beforehand. It’s a touching biography of her and their marriage.

Martha was a girls basketball coach in Iowa in the 1950’s and ’60’s. She had an unusual winning strategy. At half time she told her girls to lie down and be quiet. She couldn’t tell them to pray or meditate. There were too many differences between religions, and the schools were becoming hostile to things like prayer or Bible reading.

She didn’t ask her girls to be quiet before the game because there was always too much commotion and excitement. But after a half time respite, the girls went into the second half reinvigorated after a time of quiteness, and they had a winning record.

Almost every religion puts an emphasis on the need for quietness, reflection and meditation. But when the Scriptures talk of meditation, they’re not talking about emptying our minds, as does Transcendental Meditation. An empty mind is an invitation for foolishness and even evil spirits to enter.

The Scriptures tell us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Other passages refer to yielding to the Spirit, such as in Romans 6. Nothing is said about emptying ourselves.

A catholic acquaintance told me her priest encouraged her to pray for God’s guidance and protection during quiet times. I think this is good advice.

As we begin a new year, may we value stillness before the Lord. May we become reinvigorated, like Martha Shedd’s girls basketball teams, ready to face the rest of the game.

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