The Silence of Saturday

“You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos,
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free.

In the silence of the heart You speak,
In the silence of the heart You speak,
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me” – Audrey Assad

“Communion with God in the silence of the heart is a God-given capacity, like the rhododendron’s capacity to flower, the fledgling’s for flight, and the child’s for self-forgetful abandon and joy.” – Martin Laird

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A few months ago I lost my faith.

Not my faith in God. But my faith in words, in human language. My faith in my thoughts and my feelings. My faith in my experiences. I lost my faith.

God was still there in mysterious splendour, in gentle humility, in magnificent beauty, in peacefully constant faithfulness. I just couldn’t find the words to describe him. How do we describe the Infinitely Indescribable? How is it that the Great Unknowable makes himself known?

In this place you tend to question a lot of things. Why do I do this? Why do I believe this about God? Why does a church gathering look like this? Am I just going through the motions?

God was still there. Shining on like the sun. Patient.

I have spoken much about surrender on this blog. The importance of going all in no matter the cost. Publicly and privately I have cried and wept, I have danced and flailed, shouted and sung, laughed, knelt down, laid down. I have gone on that journey of opening my heart to the Lord. Choosing to surrender in any way that I can. In the loud or in the quiet. I wanted to give my all.

The problem with all of the above is that they involved me doing things. Tim choosing to dance. Tim choosing to sing. Tim choosing to lay down. Tim choosing to shout. Tim doing whatever he can to surrender himself before the Lord.

I’ve come to realise, maybe even in the last week, that there is an invitation to a deeper surrender. A surrender not so much focused on doing but a surrender of being. A surrender of silence.

There is not much that the Bible tells us about Holy Saturday in the Bible. Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for Jesus’ body and lays it in a garden tomb. Luke’s account states: “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:54-56)

Everything stopped for the Sabbath. A holy pause. A silent moment where hope is seemingly dead. How did the disciples feel? How did they cope with the inner turmoil of the events that proceeded this silent Sabbath? The man they had followed for three years was dead. His body lay in a tomb. They had given everything – they had left all they had to follow him. They had believed when others doubted. They had become his friend. They knew him. They had seen the miracles, the signs, the wonders. Through him they had seen God. Yet now he was dead. Hope gone. Hope in the ground. Hope behind the stone. How did they feel? What grief did they experience? What questions ripped apart their very being?

And the response to their questions, their bitter pain, their devastating disappointment, their anguish and torment? Nothing. Not on Holy Saturday. Silence. Emptiness. Nothingness.

There’s not much the Bible tells us about this Sabbath because there is not much that the friends and followers of Jesus could have done. Sabbath… stop, rest, pause. Silence.

There is nothing that they could do.

There is a deeper place of surrender that does not revolve around what we can do. This is the surrender of silence. It is a surrender where we acknowledge that there is nothing that we can do. Instead we respond to the invitation to embrace the silence of Saturday. We acknowledge our questions, our doubts, our fears, our insecurities, our emotions but we are not defined by them. We let the confines of human language fall to the floor and we are simply still. Whereas my journey of surrender thus far has been dictated by internal thoughts and feelings, which have then led to external action, the surrender of silence simply stops and is still. The former is valid and important and I am not discounting what I have learnt and how I have grown to know God. He has loved my heart. However, the latter is beautiful.

The surrender of silence is a place where we learn to simply and profoundly be. The journey before was full of noise! Brash, bold and boisterous. What is more precious than sitting before Limitless Love and not needing to do anything other than silently be?

Have we truly learnt to surrender until we know how to be still? There is an inherent silence to surrender. A silence found in the deepest reaches of our hearts.

In this place we learn that there are no words, no thoughts, no feelings, no actions that can define us. There is only the love of the Infinite Father. This is a surrender that is no longer based on what I can do. It centres on who he is. Yes, I have my questions, my fears, my doubts, my insecurities, my frailties… but they are not my identity. They are not who I am. All that matters is him. Fix your eyes on the one who is Perfect Love.

There is a silence on this Saturday. Our precious Saviour lays dead and there are more questions than answers. Words cannot describe how we feel, the thoughts that rush through our heads, the pain we’ve experienced, the loneliness we’ve felt, the grief, the torment. We know not what to do.

Embrace the silence.

Breathe.

Acknowledge the questions, the doubts, the thoughts and feelings and move on into the realm of silent peace where we can gaze into the eyes of our heavenly Dad.

Holy Saturday is an invitation to surrender. It is an invitation to be still. It is an invitation to peaceful, beautiful silence.

“You can have it all Lord,
every part of my world.” – Brian Johnson


Thank you to Richard Rohr and Martin Laird who, through their writings, have provided words and inspiration for this journey when I had no framework or words for myself.

#allin worship

“In one moment we find ourselves rejoicing in the dance, arms raised with heads lifted high. In the next we are bowed low, not because someone suggested it would be an appropriate response, but because the fear of God has filled the room.” – Bill Johnson

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Here’s a story: King David made a mistake (he made quite a few of them I’ve noticed). There was a consequence to this mistake and lots of people were dying. You can read about it in 1 Chronicles 21. There’s this huge angel waiting to destroy Jerusalem and it stops at a bit of land owned by a guy called Araunah the Jebusite. David realises his mistake and gets instruction from a prophet to go and build an altar on the land where the angel has stopped. Simple. When David gets to the land, he offers to pay it in full. However, Araunah says that David can have it for free! Not just that – the king can have whatever he likes for the offering too… oxen, threshing-sledges (lucky Dave) and wheat… whatever he needs! David’s response is remarkable: “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that cost me nothing.

I will not offer something that has cost me nothing.

What does a life of #allin worship look like? It involves cost. David was not prepared to bring something before the Lord that had not cost him. Throughout Scripture we see other people doing the same:

  • Abraham obediently takes his promised son (the son on which all the other promises stood) to offer him to God as he realised that worshipping God was a bigger priority than pursuing the promises that he had received. He was willing to give it all (Hebrews 11:17-19).
  • Joshua lingers in the presence of God, long after Moses has left, sacrificing his time to be with his Creator (Exodus 33:11).
  • David dances and leaps (pretty much in his underwear) before the ark of the Lord in such an undignified manner that it offends one of his wives (2 Samuel 6:14-16).
  • A woman comes to Jesus with a bottle of an incredibly expensive perfume, pours it all over Him and wipes His feet with her tears… much to the scorn of the onlookers that label the act as an extravagant waste.

Whether it is family, promises, time, prestige or expensive gifts, the Bible is full of examples of extravagant displays of worship. Worship is more than singing. It is more than Sunday morning. There is something about the presence of God which draws people in to a place of wholehearted abandonment. There is an invitation to go deeper, to go further, no matter the cost.

Psalm 73:25-26 contains such a simple yet incomprehensible statement, which the band Loud Harp summed up in their song ‘The Nearness of You’: “My flesh, my heart my fail – whom have I but You?” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! What a stupid, stupid, stupid, ridiculous thing to say. Yet it has captivated my heart. My flesh – my very body – may fail! My heart – that vitally important organ pumping that vitally important liquid around my vitally important body – may fail! But God is my strength. He is my portion. Whom do I have but Him? Essentially, I may well be dead, but God is more than enough. He is everything. More than being alive. Where else would I go? Ridiculous. Yet captivating.

#allin or nothing.

I began 2014 with a desire to explore what would life look like to go #allin. I knew there was something more than my current level of thinking; I knew there was something more than what I was experiencing. Is this desire not the foundation of what the Psalmist is talking about? Moment by moment I’ve glimpsed it. I don’t even think I am close to knowing it. I don’t think I am close at all. But there is something drawing me in… I have to dance and I don’t care what I look like. I have to let go and I have to flail and move around to the rhythm of His heart. I must give Him everything I can. I have to bow down. I have to lay before the Creator of the entire universe and not know if I’ll get up. I have to shout. I have to laugh. I have to cry. I have to give everything I physically can and I know there are consequences. I know people have looked at me and said I look ridiculous. I’ve heard people say that I’m over emotional. I’ve felt the disdain and the embarrassment when people say my laughing or crying is stupid. I’ve poured out, I’ve exhausted myself. In public, in private… something has captured my heart and I cannot turn back. I am desperate for a life of #allin worship.

The Heart Response.

The truth is that the physical is just a fraction of what I could offer in my heart. All the examples above only happened because of an initial heart response. Indeed, it’s easy to the do the physical out of compulsion, out of obligation, out of routine. This is not my intention. I don’t care if you laugh or cry. I don’t care if you sing loud or dance wild. I don’t care if you kneel or raise your hand. David would not give to the Lord something that belonged to someone else. Your journey will look different. It will cost in different ways. I don’t care what your extravagant expression will look like. All I care about is the invitation from the most loving of Dads who created every single thing and actually holds us together right now. He is inviting us to join in the great dance: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you. He says that we are significant to the point where He gave Himself for us. He gave everything so He could be united with us forever. It is from that place that I have to give everything. I have to go #allin. Nothing else can satisfy.

There have been times where I don’t want to worship. I’ve lived in hopelessness. I’ve lived in the place of no dreams. I’ve lived in the place of loneliness. I’ve not seen healing in my life or the life of my family. People around me have gone through devastation. I’ve cried out for the promises God has spoken over my life yet still lived in emptiness. Sometimes when they’ve come, they’ve disappeared just as quickly. I’ve not been able to pay the bills. I’ve had an empty house and an empty heart. I’ve feared the consequences of giving everything. I’ve worshipped when I’ve not felt anything. I’ve had more reasons that I don’t want to worship than fingers to count. But His extravagant love is so clearly displayed in Jesus and Him crucified that I have to keep making the choice. This is the heart of worship. There is a cost. It demands everything. It demands an extravagant response. It demands #allin worship. It demands our whole hearts. But it is oh so worth it.

“I’m coming to You with a bottle of perfume / and I will pour it out no matter what the cost.”

Will you go the distance?

Will you take the plunge?

Will you jump?

Will you give everything?

Will you risk your life, what people think of you, your material possessions?

Will you let go of fear and abandon your whole heart?

Will you be reckless?

Will you go #allin?

Will you go #allin in the pain of life?

Will you go #allin in the abundance of His graceful provision?

My flesh, my heart may fail – whom have I but You?

#allin.


I believe that this blog concludes the #allin series. Maybe I started where I finished, but my heart is forever changed. If you’d like to read a few other moments from this adventure that will last a lifetime then please follow these links:

– #allin or nothing (Jan 2014) –
– #allin love, #allin compassion (Apr 2014) –
– #allin surrender (June 2014) –
– #allin resurrection (August 2014) –

#allin surrender

“Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.” – C.S. Lewis

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Ever sung any of the following lyrics?

  • “Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone.”
  • “Take the world, but give me Jesus”
  • “Strip everything away, til all I have is You, undo the veils so all I see is You”
  • “I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within, I lay it all down for the sake of you my King, I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my right, I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life, And I surrender all to you, all to you.”
  • “I’m falling on my knees, offering everything, Jesus you’re all this heart is living for”
  • “Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails, Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus”
  • “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me”

Full marks if you recognise all these lyrics. Here are the lyrics of some great, great songs! I love these songs and I love the heart behind them. But sometimes it is so easy to sing these lyrics without thinking about the inherent cost and sacrifice that is contained within them. These are songs of surrender. I’m sure you can think of other Sunday songs that contain a similar heart cry – to give Jesus everything. I’m sure you can think of similar prayers that you have prayed. What I am realising is that there can be a disconnect between the words that come from our lips and the actual action of surrender. It’s easy for me to sit and pray “Lord, I give you everything, take my anywhere” and for nothing to change in my heart. How many times have I prayed “take everything” but held on to every single thing that was holding me back from the depth of the Father’s heart? Wow, I am so very challenged just writing that sentence.

Here is a simple truth: surrender is not a fuzzy feeling we get singing these lyrics or praying these prayers on a Sunday. Surrender is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday abandonment. Surrender is giving Him control of every single dimension of our life every single day of the week.

Surrender is realising He is the king and He therefore has absolute control. Surrender is laying down our control at the feet of Jesus. Surrender is giving Him everything that you have, everything that you could be, everything that you desire and dream about… it’s allowing Him to take it all – even if you never see it again. That’s #allin surrender. That’s the heart of a disciple. I am learning this every single day. And it is sometimes very painful because I really want to hold on.

Surrender is largely opposite to the mentality of our culture. Our society says fight for everything and be in control. You are entitled and you should battle for what you deserve. Surrender, therefore, can often be seen as a weakness. You don’t want to see an army going into battle with the mindset of surrender. You don’t want to see the England football team lay down without even trying! How countercultural is it that Jesus goes against this. The majority perspective is to fight for your promotion, hold on to your security, get to the top. We should not worry about the people around us. Don’t back down, seize every opportunity, win. Is this not one of the undercurrents of our culture? There is not much value placed on surrender, on going lower, on letting go of control. However, despite this surrender and sacrifice are core values for the Jesus follower.

Jesus states in the Amplified version of the Bible:

“If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].” (Matthew 16:24)

Jesus is clear. The cost of discipleship is death. It is laying everything down. Surrender is death every day of the week. Death to my desire, death to my passions, death to my dreams. When He calls you, it is a call to die. It is disregarding and losing sight of myself and my interests and it is pursuing Him above everything else. And you know what? Death is damn painful. It hurts. My dreams are amazing. He put them there! I really want to see lives transformed, I want to see things grow, I want to see people come alive, I want to get married, to pursue the heart of Jesus alongside a girl, I want to be secure with somewhere to live, enough money to pay the bills… it is painful surrendering these things. None of them are bad – but am I going to pursue these things above Jesus?

On Tuesday morning during a talk at Form, Jesus specifically said to me, “will you give up everything to follow me?” He’s said it before, He will say it again. On a Sunday morning it’s often easy to pray that prayer. “God, I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything.” But when you put it in the context of letting go of my dreams, the deep desires of my heart, it suddenly becomes harder. Let me be honest, there are things that I want that I sometimes want a lot more than I want Jesus. A lot more. Still! And so that is why I got down on my knees and I cried. I cried longer than I’ve ever cried before. Some of the aforementioned hopes and dreams came to mind and I painfully laid them down. Is this what taking up a cross looks like? Is this death? Is this #allin surrender?

#allin surrender is a process

I’m not telling this story to draw attention to myself – I’m telling it as dying is all I feel qualified to talk about at the moment. This is my story every day at this time. And that’s the truth – the reality of a life of surrender is that it is a continual process. God is moving in my life at the moment, removing all that hinders love so that only He remains. The reality is that I still need to let go of some things. A lot of things. There are still things that I am pursuing above Jesus. There are still things where I cling desperately to control. Surrender is a process that lasts a lifetime.

But it is a process that is worth it. It costs everything, but there is nothing that is worth more than the priceless privilege of intimately knowing Christ Jesus. He is beyond worth – His love is of infinite value. In the process of kneeling before Him, heart laid open with all my dreams, tears and snot pouring out, I knew His love so close to me. My dreams were put there by Him, but He wants to lead and guide me. He wants it to be a relationship with Him first and foremost. His will, not mine. Will you give up everything to follow Him, to cleave yourself to Him in the most close way, even if you never see those dreams and passions realised? It is hard, but it is worth it. It is the call of Christ. Come and die. He is the God who prunes us back in order to see us produce fruit. Not just fruit, but fruit that lasts – fruit with eternal value (John 15). This is what CS Lewis was talking about! We have to let every part of us die before that part can bring resurrection life. Nothing that has not died will be raised to life. It starts with surrender. That’s why Romans 12 urges us to be “living sacrifices”. We are to live from the sacrificial altar of #allin surrender – it is a place of refinement, death, sacrifice, but also a place of holy fire and therefore a place of intimate connection and closeness.

The ultimate surrender

The context of surrender is that Jesus has already done it. We do not have a dictatorial king who harshly gives us dreams and then snatches them from us. No, we have the true king who in all His splendour humbled Himself to the point where He surrendered everything, first by becoming human and living as us and then by surrendering His life, forever uniting Himself with us on the cross. That is #allin surrender. He set the standard. There was no greater price, no greater surrender. His desire for us was worth dying for. His desire for you means He would do it all again. In that context, surely giving up everything to follow and be with Him is so unbelievably worth it? He has made a way! We surrender in His strength. We pick up our cross, disregard ourselves and cling to Him. God, we want to chase after You with everything we have. We want to lay aside all that holds us back and fix our eyes firmly on You. Where You go, we will follow.

Keep nothing back.
Surrender everything.
Go #allin. It’s worth it.

Who will join me on this endeavor?

  1. Is your life a life of daily surrender?
  2. Are there any areas of your life where you need to surrender today?
  3. What steps do you need to take to surrender?

I put together a soundtrack of five songs of surrender on my music blog. Listen here.


If you’re wondering where the #allin hashtag came from you’ll need to read this blog I wrote. I’ve also written a blog about #allin compassion here.