God's Waiting on You
Elias Howe was working nonstop on his new invention, the sewing machine, but no matter what he tried, the stitches turned out sloppy. He was so focused on the problem that one night he dreamed he had been kidnapped by a group of tribesmen and given twenty-four hours to finish his invention!
When his time was up in the dream, Elias still was unsuccessful. Right before the nightmare ended, lots of the tribesmen’s spears were flying at him. But there was something strange about those spears: each one had a small hole near the tip.
When Elias awoke, he had the answer to the problem with the sewing machine. The stitches would neaten up if he put the eye of the needle near the tip. He had solved the problem while he slept!
Imagine what God would do in our hearts and minds if we were focused that intently on his Word. Meditating on it is one of the ways God speaks to us, and it’s mentioned throughout Scripture. The first person we find meditating is Isaac, all the way back in Genesis 24:63.
And yet meditating on God’s Word is a skill lost to many Christians today. Perhaps you’ve considered it, but felt a little intimidated or didn’t know where to begin. Let me take some of the mystery out of it for you.
The word meditate simply means “to think intently and at length, as to spiritual purposes.” One simple way to meditate on Scripture is to write down or memorize a short passage, even one verse, and then find a quiet place where you can focus on it for a while. I always like to begin my time with a brief prayer: I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand the verse and how he wants to apply it to my life. Then meditating is simply a matter of gently returning my mind to the verse each time it begins to wander. Slowly, the Holy Spirit works in me to help me understand the passage.
I also find it helpful to keep a journal and pen nearby to jot down what I’ve discovered. As a matter of fact, journaling Scripture—writing it out and then recording your observations—can be a form of scriptural meditation all its own.
Another way we can practice Christian meditation is to purposely quiet our hearts before the Lord in silent prayer. If you are new to this, you might find it challenging at first, but be patient with yourself. Begin by finding a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Then give yourself permission to put everything aside for just a few minutes—your worries, to-do lists, whatever you need to do next—and be silent before God.
You might find it easier to keep your mind on God if you repeat to yourself a simple truth such as “God loves me” or “I belong to Jesus.” Or you can also try repeating a simple prayer like “Christ, have mercy” or “Jesus, fill me with your love.”
If your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up. Just gently bring your heart and mind back to Jesus.
It’s important to simply enjoy the process. Really let yourself slow down for a few minutes and wait for what God wants to show you. Who knows? Perhaps the fruit of your meditation will come to you in a dream as it did for Elias Howe! (If you are by chance trying to invent a way to remove all the calories from chocolate, I personally hope so.)