Journal

Contemplative Life

Let Your Heart Speak

By: Chrissy Koach

I’ve been watching a lot of tv lately.  My favorite chore is laundry because I can justify watching another episode.  🙂

Last week, I finished Herman Wouk’s Winds of War.  While the acting was really bad, the storytelling was fantastic.  The setting is pre-World War II and I saw how history actually unfolded, rather than wonder in ignorance “How exactly did Hitler get that level of power?!’

Now I’ve begun the sequel, War & Remembrance. War has actually begun (beyond Germany/England) and the acting is much more tolerable.  However, the evil in some scenes is palpable.  Yesterday was especially hard to watch.  The wicked made direct eye contact and smiled calmly …

Some days I feel more sensitive to evil.  When it becomes hard to bear I fall back to the visuals of The Passion of the Christ and cling to the truth of His Resurrection and overcoming death itself.  And I utter the words from Luther, “LORD, I am Yours.  Save me.”  Sometimes I put my kids’ names in there.  Sometimes all I can think to say/pray is, “Oh God, Oh Jesus. Oh God.”  And I feel half-guilty because I don’t have more impressive words during such intense times.  At the time, more details can often clutter my mind, rather than give me insight toward what to pray.  And when that happens, I feel frustration and uselessness.

Then last week I experienced a great truth freedom.  It came from Spiritual Life: A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary Spirituality (Summer 2011).  This particular contributing author references Psalm 139: “You know thoroughly everything I do.  LORD, even before I say a word, you already know it.” (NCV)

“To give up (all wordless speaking) would be too close to quietism, which holds that we need not make any acts at all.  You might say I’m aware of my heart making acts of love, thanksgiving, and so on, but I’m letting God read my heart, listen to my heart, read my thoughts, rather than making up sentences.  It is a kind of silent speech.

Thus, I am aware that my heart is saying,”Thank you, thank you, thank you” or “I love you and wish to serve you for all eternity.”  But I don’t need to say much.  And if I pray for a person, all I need to do is speak that person’s name and place him or her in the Lord’s concern. … Someone told an Abba once that he had a sore foot and asked if he should pray for a healing or for an acceptance of the pain.  The Abba said, “Just go before God and say, ‘God, foot!’ ”  The same is true for any person: Just let your heart speak that person’s name and allow God to take care of the implementation.”

He also references a quote of St Augustine (On The Trinity, Book 15) which causes my soul to quiet and look to Him rather than circumstance: God does not know all his creatures because they are, but they are … BECAUSE He knows them.  I love that.

In the clutter I feel in Arlington/DC 2012, the idea of letting my heart speak – rather than my mouth – brings such comfort and peace.  I don’t need impressive words; I just need to be.  All my complicated needs and complaints, praises and joys are known, because He knows me.  He created me.  Selah.

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