“…in quietness and confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15b)
An old devotional book I’ve been reading lately quotes a writer who calls us to “self-recollection,” a term we’re not used to hearing, but one that captured my attention. When you and I talk about recollection, we think of it as being synonymous with remembering. But it comes from a French word that means to re-gather things that have become separated. In other words, pulling things back together, which makes perfect sense if you think that to recollect is to “re-collect.”
That’s what the writer had in mind. You and I can feel pulled in so many directions that it’s as though parts of us are strewed everywhere, like pieces of a puzzle. We rush around in a frantic flurry, unnerving those around us, as well as ourselves. To such people, the exhortation comes to pull ourselves together, re-collect, if you will.
We sometimes talk about our own and others’ strengths and weaknesses, but I wonder how often we would think to list “quietness” as a strength. Confidence perhaps, but quietness? Yet there is a quiet strength that is both disarming and compelling. And it’s genderless. Disarming, because it takes the wind out of argument; and compelling, because it demands recognition. It hints at a hidden power that can be called upon if needed. And, yes, it does exude confidence.
This is the kind of strength I want to have. Not the artificial kind that bolsters my ego by self-assertion, but the Holy Spirit-wrought kind that acknowledges my own weakness and gives me faith to trade it for His strength. And I’ll never have it as long as my heart and mind and life are constantly being scattered in all directions. I must gather them up under the umbrella of God’s peace regularly. As the old writer puts it, self-recollection.
When I die, I hope Job’s description of a man will be one thing that can be said of me also:
“One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.” (Job 21:23)