By Glynda Johnson
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses…
“In the Garden”, by C. Austin Miles (1912)
I love the imagery in this hymn. Perhaps the author was speaking of a literal garden, but I wonder if he might be referring to the quiet space in our heads where we attend to God’s message…a secret garden within us where the Creator and the created meet. Finding that space in today’s world can be a challenge. How do we set aside our distracting, noisy lives to attend to the Father?
My ears are fine-tuned to sound. A solitary life here on the mountain greatly reduces my exposure to the noises of modern life. I hear an occasional plane and sometimes the drum of a few motorcycles driving up the road. When it is necessary to travel elsewhere, I am shocked by the noise level of daily life. Stepping out of the car to get gas slams me with traffic noise, piped-in music, and chatter from other drivers. It can be overwhelming. Living in constant noise can be exhausting. Noise requires energy because it creates a need to filter in order to process sounds. As listeners, we fight to hear what is being said. It is impossible to live in silence, particularly in this modern world. Where might one find moments of stillness?
Rising early in the morning before everyone else’s day begins can provide some calm. Late nights work for the night owls. Disconnecting…turn off the TV, cell phone, computer…can become a temporary hiatus for your mind and soul. Nature provides opportunities to hear God’s voice through his creation.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
Mental clutter can also block us from meaningful fellowship with our Lord. Worry is noisy and distracting. There are times when it is next to impossible to set aside what is bothering us. Reading the Word or enjoying music can have a soothing effect and bring us to a place of receptive fellowship with our Lord.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Learning to be still and listen is not an easy lesson. Silence befriends us and offers sanctuary by creating space. Maybe our secret garden is not the garden Mr. Miles wrote of in 1912. But the silence we cultivate can give us room to hear and reflect on the whispering voice of God.
In the Garden
I come to the garden alone, (Eliminate distractions.) While the dew is still on the roses, (Set aside time daily.) And the voice I hear falling on my ear, (Listen, really listen.) The Son of God discloses… (Take His message to heart.) And He walks with me, and He talks with me (Feel honored.) And He tells me I am His own, (Cherish the relationship.) And the joy we share as we tarry there (Be fully present.) None other, has ever, known! (Enjoy!) He speaks and the sound of His voice, (Know the voice of God.) Is so sweet the birds hush their singing, (Recognize the Creator of the universe is speaking to YOU!) And the melody that he gave to me, (Stand ready to play the melody of His heart.) Within my heart is ringing . . . (Rejoice in the moment!) And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known! And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known! Words and Music by C. Austin Miles , 1912
John 10:27 (NIV)
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”