Nouwen’s Advice This Advent: Be Still

<%image(20051223-outofsolitude.JPG|122|150|outof)%> Part of my meditations this advent include reading some of Henri Nouwen’s books. He has a simple way of cutting to the chase, much like C. S. Lewis in fact. His book titled Out of Solitude calls Christians to stillness before God. Through a series of three meditations on the silence and solitude of Christ he asserts that Jesus met God in that solitude and ministered out of the strength he drew from that time.

In a culture that defines us by what we “do”, Nouwen encourages the reader to be defined by that time of silence and what God says in it. Easy to read, but hard to do.

His other book on prayer is titled With Open Hands. I’m not too far into it, but have found the imagery of closed fists and open hands to be helpful in my conception of prayer. His simple question is something like the following: Are we tightly clenching our fists, not letting God in to the hurting and debilitating places of our lives? Or are we letting him in to work his healing.

What struck me more than anything is the need for faith that things can better. Change and renewal can happen. God can bring a new reality to our lives. It is far to easy to bear with the devil we know rather than imagining that God can give us a new life. Fear of failure or of being let down by God often freezes me, stalling any movement toward God and his freedom.