Be still and know I am God.
I have read these words so many times. I have pictured a gentle hand, soothing my brow…whispering kindly to “Be still.”
Today, I heard those words differently, and they’ve had a profound effect on me. To be true to my calling, to be a woman of integrity, and to recklessly pursue the transcendent life with God, I’ve had to hear His voice in a different way. Today, I heard my loving Father scold me sternly: Be. Still.
I squirm a lot. I’ve walked with the Lord for over 37 years now, and I still squirm. Hebrews tells me that He disciplines those He loves, and He scourges every son He receives (Hebrews 12:3). Why is it that my first inclination is to find a way out of the circumstances–to use my talents and my will to conquer my discontent? I chafe against an unrewarding job, heavy financial responsibilities, uncertainty, and loss. As Kirk Franklin so poignantly notes in his song “I Am God”: “But living sacrifices move. Can I get up now?”
I am the mother of four, each with strong personalities, and can easily remember times I watched my children struggle. Maybe it was a small thing, like wrestling into a pajama top when they were too little to get it on easily. Or struggling with a math problem and fussing and erasing until the paper was in shreds. I was probably gentle at first: Be still, little one. Let me help. But as the child continued to fuss and try to do it alone, getting wound up ever more tightly in whatever the problem might have been, I know I must have sternly said, “Be…still!” and then reminded them that I had the answer to their dilemma–an extra hand, a math trick, more experience, whatever. I am certain that I was stern, because I was trying to get their attention while they squirmed. Not unloving, but firm. Just the way my Father was this morning with me.
Cindy. Be. Still.
Too often I am that squirming child, determined to do it on my own, to figure it out, to make it work. I imagine Him pointing to my Bible, gently reminding me of the vast resources that lie in those precious pages. I imagine Him whispering that He’s always available to talk, to still my wild mind and heart. I imagine Him reminding me of my believing husband who is there to listen and comfort me. And when I keep squirming, I imagine Him firmly and lovingly setting me straight:
I confess, I am discontented. There are significant changes I would like to see in my life, and I’m squirming in my impatience. Yet I come back to the deepest desire of my wild heart: to know, please, and follow my God. To live a transcendent life–a life that transcends petty discontent, irksome circumstances, and even deep pain. A life I can be proud of and that my Father delights in. I love Kirk Franklin’s finish to the song:
I’ve been trying to do it on my own
But right now I gotta surrender
You know what’s best
It’s not easy waiting on You
It’s not easy believing that You got this together
But without faith it is impossible to please You
So I’ma stand right here
You got me.
Yes, Lord. You got me. And oh, how grateful I am that You do. Being still is so hard for this squirmy girl, but I do know that You are God. Thank You for your sternness when I need it. Let me bend my knee and surrender to Your goodness. Still my heart and help me trust Your perfect plan.
[I highly recommend Kirk Franklin’s song I Am God from the album Fight of My Life. You can download the track or album from iTunes]