Thursday, September 8, 2016

Quietness & God

I am a wife, mother of two, teacher, administrator, small business owner, sister, daughter, friend. Most days are not long enough for me to actually accomplish the things that are on my to-do list.

With the busy-ness comes the inevitable noise. My family is clamoring for snacks or clean clothes or disputes between kids require settling. There are texts, phone calls, coffee dates squeezed in when hearts are broken and breaking, grace-filled words are spoken, and truth is felt. Papers still need grading, students need helping, business needs to be finished. Time is not standing still and, often, is flying by faster than I can process.

And on some days, I feel the anxiety pressing closer as the noise bounces off the walls of my house or the hurting cacophony of the world begins to close in. There is more to do! Hands to hold, prayers to pray! Good that needs doing. “After all, God,” I reason to Him, while I juggle far too many things, “someone has to do it. Someone has to be Your hands.”

Almost as if He is speaking to me in my weakness, I hear “Be still and know that I am God” whisper through my crazed thoughts about laundry, deadlines, and school activities. In that one phrase, I am reminded of my dependence and His preeminence. In that one phrase, I am gently scolded not to carry burdens that are not mine to bear. In that one phrase, I am encouraged and strengthened in the work that has been prepared for me.

Stillness tends to be foreign to me most days. Quietness even more so. My instinct is to work for my salvation - not work it out. The old (wo)man holds tenaciously in my mind that my effort is what is pleasing to God. The new (wo)man is the one who hears the reminder, “Be still…” And then the conflict begins. Old and new fight for dominance in my inner person, a place that I don’t fully understand and am not always brave enough to explore.

Through the internal conflict, I hear it again: “Be still…” And then I realize that it is a command. Out of curiousity, I go and find the full passage that the command comes from. Psalm 46 is a full account of the work of the Lord for His own glory and on His people’s behalf. Being still is at the end of the psalm - after hearing that God is encouraging, protecting, defending, instructing His own precious people.

“Alright, Lord,” I say (pretending to submit but not actually letting go of the busy-ness and noise). “I am being still. Now what?”

In that “now what” moment, it is crystal clear: simply that HE is God. God of creation and creativity, work and rest, time and eternity. My arrogance smacks loudly in the barely established hush. He is God. Now the silence, the quiet, becomes convicted worship. This essential fact - He is God - is gifted to us in precious silence. It is a fact that is in and of itself grace. His Godhood is our peace, our very salvation. The psalmist describes natural disasters and raging nations (Ps. 46.2-3 & 5) but then the command - “Be still...I am God.”

The noise still happens, the chaos still encroaches. But there are days (or mere moments) that have whispers of quietness when tendrils of grace and peace weave themselves into the thoughts in my head.

A command is present more often than before: “Be still and know that I am God.”