Our Bible verse for today: “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
Our thought for today: “Quite times with God can be transformative”
Forest Home Christian Camp is located in the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California. At over 8000 feet in elevation it is a beautiful setting of magnificent forests, pristine lakes, and spectacular views.
Forest Home is where Billy Graham, as a young evangelist just starting his ministry, settled an important issue with God. It was 1948 and Billy was wrestling with doubts about the Bible. A close friend had challenged him with questions about it that he couldn’t answer. Those questions raised doubts in his mind and he was deeply troubled. So Billy took a weekend to go off into the seclusion of Forest Home to rest and spend time with God. One afternoon, sitting quietly deep in the forest, Billy came to the conclusion that he trusted God implicitly and even if there were some aspects of the Bible he didn’t fully understand, he would take it all on faith as the inerrant Word of God.
Billy left Forest Home with the question settled in his mind and heart. Three weeks later he began his famous “Los Angeles Crusade” which drew 100s of thousands of people over the course of many weeks and which launched Billy’s amazing career as the most successful evangelist in the history of the Christian faith. Today there’s a beautiful little chapel in the woods at Forest Home marking the exact spot that Billy Graham settled that issue with God.
More than twenty-five years ago, as I was beginning my ministry years as a pastor, I spent a few days at Forest Home on a personal retreat and I spent some hours alone in that very chapel. It was a beautiful, peaceful, and profoundly moving experience. I just sat there in the deep quiet, with the sun shining through the windows, and I soaked-in the presence of God. I was so full and so at peace that I can vividly recall the experience more than two decades later.
In his great book, “The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath” author Mark Buchanan writes about the importance of Sabbath-rest: “From it, you can rise up and go – stronger, lighter, ready to work again with vigor and a clear mind.” Let me also add, that just as was the case with Billy Graham, those quiet times of rest and renewal also often bring clarity and peace as God helps us to resolve difficult issues we’ve been wrestling with.
Quiet times of Sabbath-rest can be transformative experiences. It is almost always a time of renewal and spiritual nurture, but it can also transform. I encourage you to make time for Sabbath-rest.