17 MINUTES, 17 SECONDS
These two 17’s are the best moments of my day! This is time dedicated to entering my personal secret garden. The psalmist called this a secret place. The secret garden is my best vacation destination in all the world. This is where I experience sacred silence.
Soren Kierkegaard, a famous Dutch theologian, and author gave us a four-step process to experience heavenly joy when difficult circumstances come. In Lessons from Birds of the Air and Lilies of the Field, Kierkegaard reveals the four steps: Silence leads to intimacy to obedience to joy.
Jesus even experienced this process the night before He was arrested and condemned to death. The Gospel writers described the scene when Jesus went alone in silence to experience intimacy with His Father. This intimate conversation resulted in obedience to a cruel Roman cross. Thus, Jesus gladly went to the cross for the joy that awaited Him.
For years, 15:00 was my designated time allotment. This practice began back in the late 1960s when I heard a famous leader say, “If you will spend 15 minutes a day alone in silence, you will be able to solve most of the world’s problems.”
Now 17:17 is my sacred silence time. Those numbers are also a heartfelt tribute to a great man in my life. At one time, this 6’4″, 232-pound man’s position was 60 feet from home plate. There he stood in a #17 baseball uniform. His name was Bobby Moore. Now, years later, instead of delivering 95-mph baseballs, Bobby is delivering God’s message of love and healing. The best fastball ever!
Therefore, adding 2 minutes and 17 seconds to my original 15:00 sacred silence time block has been good for at least two reasons:
- It creates a greater opportunity to grow my silence, intimacy, obedience, and joy.
- It brings joy to both the giver and recipient to honor #17, my pastor, mentor, and dear friend.
Gentle suggestion: Designate a given time to find your secret garden; delight in sacred silence. This silence, intimacy, obedience, and joy will be powerful tools to equip you when the pictorial hurricanes and tornadoes hit all of us in life. Hebrews 12:2 in The Message Bible reminds us this way: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we are in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”