I have meditated for the past two weeks on Hebrews Chapter 11 during my Quiet Time. As I stilled myself on the porch of our rented beach house at Holden Beach, NC at the break of dawn last week, I noticed the sky changing from dark to purple to pink to orange, then the sun rose. The soul care happened as I laid my soul bare before Him.
It reminded me of what Hebrews Chapter 11 is doing in my heart and soul as the words echo in my head throughout the day. Where there had been dark and dry places, God’s Word illuminates truth so that my stressors and concerns aren’t the focus anymore. Instead, His Word, in the quiet of the morning, restored my soul. I am working on memorizing the entire chapter of Hebrews 11. So far, I know Verses 1 – 7 very well and am about to start reading, reciting, writing and memorizing the verses about Abraham’s faith.
This time of quiet at the beach created a reset in me, in my heart and in my mind which has continued now that vacation days at the beach are over. This past year created a lot of noise, the kind that reminds me of a busy intersection in New York City with horns blaring on occasion, cars moving and voices mixed in the air. Morning routines really have reset my mind and heart on many days during the school year, but the cool coastal morning air on the porch infused new life in my worn out heart and body.
By the end of the school year, I was experiencing tremendous stress. There was something about the hustle and bustle of teaching during a pandemic in a hybrid format with kids Zooming in and kids sitting with me in my classroom at school. The stamina that it took to keep it going and to carry out other duties such as collecting hundreds of iPads and Chromebooks, resetting the iPads, accounting for lost devices, etc. became one that often made me feel like I was standing in the middle of that busy New York intersection without being able to move. It was truly a school year and a half like none other that I had experienced in my 28 years of being an elementary school teacher.
The restoration that I have felt has come directly from resting and in quiet. The beach house sat by a canal from the Intracoastal Waterway. The lapping of the water against the shore of green grass that grew on the banks reminded me of the beginning of David’s 23rd Psalm:
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
Our faithful Heavenly Father knows when our bodies, minds and hearts need to release the stress and embrace the rest. He led me to that porch most mornings at the beach for a week to experience the dawn of new days and to eat the fresh bread from Hebrews 11. My faith in God is stronger because of those quiet mornings.
My heart has been restless so this time of trusting in Him, praying and reading His word provided the soul care that came from laying my soul bare before Him. He knows my thoughts, my coming and my going, my internal and external struggles and my pain, but getting to just be with him in the morning breezes, with the egrets riding the wind and the sun changing the skies just helped me so much. He is mighty and gives us the faith that we need as we trust in Him.
Hebrews 11: 1 reminded me of this foundational truth which guides me:
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
Hebrews 11:6 guided me to remember how to please God and receive His rewards:
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
The Word allowed me to squelch the noisy chaos in my mind and body so that I could remember that my Creator exists, created the universe by His Word and that all that we see was made by things that are not seen (Hebrews 11:3). The faith of our Biblical ancestors won God’s approval (Hebrews 11:4). The listing of the ways that Abel, Enoch and Noah had faith reveals that their faith overcame their fear, that their lives were approved by God and that they made time to be in God’s presence. In His presence, they could be laser focused on His truth as they focused on having faith in God alone.
Are you taking time to listen and lean in to God by reading His Word? It will do you good, my friend. Take some time today to read Hebrews 11:1 – 7 and even begin to memorize it with me. Read it, write it down, recite it and say it whenever you can. The quietness of focusing on these Scriptures helped me to begin a new chapter of renewal in my heart. Faith in God gives hope and healing.