Daily Archives: 7th November 2015

Still Your Soul in Silence

This is a very personal testimony I want to share, about how God prepared me for my fifteen-year Wilderness experience.

Before the onset of that ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, this song – Still Your Soul in Silence, by Don Francisco – was the last song I sang as a performance piece in the public arena. The Lord had been speaking to me for some months through the lyrics, I can’t easily explain exactly how He was speaking because it’s very, very deep, but I will try to help you understand what He said to me, because you may be going through something similar and it might strike a chord with you.

First up, though, I’ll let you listen to the song (used here by Don’s permission), and here are the lyrics too:

 

In the lives of those who follow
There’s going to come a time
When rhythm starts to stumble
And sing-song follows rhyme
When imaginations crumble
False foundations turn to dust
Towers fall to piles of stones
And girders into rust

‘Til you let the Blood of Jesus wash the rubble from your mind
And your eyes again can see the One you almost left behind
When theology’s in tatters
And reason is absurd
Still your soul in silence
And listen for His Word

So many turn so many ways
So many voices cry
Standing at the crossroads
Watching time go flashing by
Indecision paralyses, it’s the fear of choosin’ wrong
But waiting is a step itself, and you’re wondering too long

So again you search the Scriptures
And again you ask your friends
But last of all the One Who’s known the beginning from the end
In the clamour and confusion
And the blindness of your choice
Still your soul in silence
And listen for His Voice

Rome is full of ruins
Babylon is gone
The temple’s just a memory
That some still dwell upon
But deep within a place that sword and veil had once denied
A tree of life is growing, living waters flow beside

Beyond all human reason
And words upon a page
His Glory lightens all who fret their hour upon this stage
To know Him is our freedom
To hear Him is release
To fix your heart and soul on Him is rest and perfect peace

Far beyond all human reason
And words upon a page
His Glory lightens all who fret their hour upon this stage
To know Him is our freedom
To hear Him is release
To fix your heart and soul on Him is rest
And perfect peace

I was somewhat puzzled over what the lyrics were about, but because I recognised the Voice of the Spirit speaking to me, I paid attention and tried to work it out. Especially difficult was the bit about “When imaginations crumble | False foundations turn to dust | Towers fall to piles of stones | And girders into rust”. I couldn’t see how my ‘foundations’, my carefully-constructed and (so I believed) doctrinally-correct standpoints on topics moral, ethical and spiritual could ever change – and I didn’t want them to change either! I knew where my security was: in my relationship with God, yes. But I also found security because I saw that relationship in the context of the belief structures both of the Church I was in, and the one I had constructed based on those of the Church I was in.

It turned out that the song, and the Voice of the Spirit in the song, were preparing me for – and warning me, if you like – about the upcoming time in the wilderness. I spent fifteen years being effectively ‘detoxed’ from the ‘religious spirit’ I appeared to have taken on board. In my wilderness time, then, God weaned me (gently) from my dependence on these towers and structures, the Blood of Jesus ‘washed the rubble from my mind’, and made my faith so much more simple.

“Still your soul in silence, and listen for His Word”

I hadn’t been ‘wrong’ as such; I knew and loved Jesus and wanted to do as He wanted me to do. But I was blind to the way that rigid adherence to the Scriptures made me appear to people in the outside world. I know that because although I was blind in that way; now, though, I can see it from the outside, so to speak. I have been ‘outside’ and have seen ‘Religion’ from the outsider’s perspective.

So often I found that I could not, with integrity, hold to my own conscience and still hold to the – established and largely unwritten – church belief structure. A structure based on the Bible, yes, but on their – and my – narrow interpretation of it.

I’m not saying I am a better man now, or more ‘advanced’ spiritually. But I do feel honoured that God has taken the time and made the effort to teach me these things, and I do have a new understanding of the things of the Kingdom of God that I simply didn’t have before.

And the difference now in the Church I am in – a Charismatic, evangelical Anglican Church – we are ‘allowed’ to hold different opinions and beliefs from our fellow believers. In my previous church, this would have been frowned upon. Now, because of what God has done in my life over that fifteen years, I am free to walk out over the deep waters and believe Him for greater things. He has led me into greater depths in Him; greater trust – only in Him, and not in fabricated belief structures; the need for greater trust (which isn’t quite the same thing); greater fruit; great changes in my life and attitudes. I’m still me, with the same passions and interests. But His presence is so strong in my life, greater than it has ever been before. Far greater than it was in the time before the wilderness years. I don’t want to change others; however if there are those in the same place as I was, I would like to help them understand what’s happening to them.

How to get ahold of this for yourself? As a new believer, or as one who has walked with Jesus all your life, the answer is the same. Keep walking close to Him. Don’t let other, trifling ‘religious’ things distract you. Enjoy life with Him. Enjoy your hobbies and interests. Hear his heartbeat.

“Still your soul in silence, and listen for His Word”

And do not hesitate to follow His Voice, even if it leads you to a point where what He says conflicts with your already-existing belief structures. In fact, this is what you should expect if Jesus is changing you on a daily basis. How can He do a ‘new thing’ in you without first doing something radical in dealing with the old? But do not worry. Jesus is faithful, and He will lead you, by His Spirit, into all truth. So many people, these days, look at others’ walks with Jesus and criticise. They are afraid that if someone listens to God for themselves, then somehow they will end up in error. This is especially common in cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, where even reading the Bible for oneself is discouraged in case of being deceived by ‘lying spirits’. But look, who is it that these people don’t trust? Do they really not trust God – who is smart enough to have made the entire Universe – to be able to speak to someone and actually get it right? No doubt they will trot out stuff like ‘The human heart is deceitful above all things’ in order to suggest, when you really get down to it, that actually God cant speak at all without the human heart somehow twisting things.

What twaddle! Since you now have a new heart, (Ezek 36:26, 2 Cor 5:17) as a believer, you are perfectly capable of hearing God correctly for yourself! Don’t let anyone ever take that away from you! Do you really think He would let you fall? No, because underneath are the Everlasting Arms (Deut 33:27). If anyone is in Christ, he has the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16). He whom the Father gives [to Jesus], He will never cast out (Jn 6:37). Do not listen to those who would gainsay what Jesus has to say to you personally. But don’t push it faster than He wants you to go. He will lead you into new things in His own good time; when He knows the time is right. All you have to do is to follow Him and trust Him with your life. And you can trust Him with not only your life, but your salvation too. Don’t worry about what others think; this is between you and God, and He deals with us all differently and individually.

“Still your soul in silence, and listen for His Word”

So the Scripture that says, ‘Today, if you hear His Voice, do not harden your hearts….’ (Heb 3:15) took on a new meaning for me. I had hardened my heart to what the Spirit was saying, because I was so sure that I was completely correct, on the right track, and doctrinally proper, to the exclusion of all else. How could I have been so blind? So, I would say to my readers, and with the deepest of respect too: Do not harden your hearts. Let Jesus speak to you, and if there are ‘towers’ that need to ‘fall to piles of stones’, then let Him pull them down. But all in His good time, and all in His way.

As in all such things, the only thing you need to do is to walk closely with Jesus, listen to His Voice, and trust Him to get it right. He is the One who will mould you into the person you want to be.

“Still your soul in silence, and listen for His Word”


And, as an alternative listening experience, here’s a lovely acoustic version of the song: just Don and his guitar:

 

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