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My Broken Road to Grace: Post Twenty Three (Be still before the Lord!)
Do you remember when your children were small? If you were like me in those days the words "be still" were a very, very regular part of your vocabulary, they most certainly were for me. My children were bad to "fidgit" as my mother used to refer to it and it was sometimes hard to keep them still and quiet in a restaurant, at the movies, and most especially at church.
That was before they days of children's worship as a widespread practice and I would sometimes leave a Sunday morning service feeling as if I had just wrestled a bear. Boys were worse than girls without question but it is also without question that asking a seven year old, much less a toddler, boy or girl, to sit through an hour long song and worship service without something really unusual to not only catch but keep their attention might have simply been just a little too much.
As I read my study verse before my prayer time this morning. I couldn't help thinking about my sweet, wiggly, jiggily children back in those days and how we might relate that situation to our Christian lives today. Psalm 46:10 says: "Be still and know that I am God." A simple verse with a straight forward message that should be pretty easy to follow huh? However maybe we should wait and think on that for a moment before arriving so quickly at that conclusion.
Let's break it down. "Be still" should be pretty easy to do. Sit down, and be quiet right? How often though do we really do that in the world in which we live. Human beings are not anything if not on the move. There is work and school, and soccer practice and hair appointments and dinner with friends, and club meetings and trips to the beach I could go on an on and on. The simple truth is we are on the go constantly! Think about this and be honest, when was the last time you really and truly sat down, did nothing else, no TV, no book, certainly by all means no lap top or smart phone and quietly meditated waiting on God to speak to you.
I'll confess that even as a retiree with a not so busy schedule anymore I often still find myself being pulled in ten different directions and regularly fail to either set aside the time then actually utilize it to that end or even more sadly fail to even set it aside. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not contending that as Christians we don't pray and even study the word of God with a quiet time each day. I am sure that many of us do and if you are like me you probably pray regularly throughout the course of any given day. I do, regularly putting into action the verse "Pray without ceasing. I pray as things are brought to my attention by a friend, the media or laid upon my heart as a function of the Holy Spirit, while driving, in the shower, working with my hands on a project, you name it. I believe that we are, as obedient Christians supposed to pray like that but I also think that God wants us to set aside time in which we make our selves available to commune with Him, listen for that "still small voice" as it guides and leads us toward the things He would have us to do.
I am also convinced that it doesn't stop there, the second portion of the verse being equally important as the first. "Know that I am God." There was a phrase that floated around some years ago and it went something like this "I don't know much but I know what I know." Pretty profound huh? I think God wants us to not only slow down and listen but then to act upon His guidance in faith, by essentially "knowing what we know." You see, it is one thing to plan and even take the time to be still and quiet before the Lord listening intently for His guidance but it is something altogether different to give legs to our faith by putting what we feel we are being led to do into action. The two most definitely go hand in hand in order to make the effort a success. Not to do so would be like trying to bake a cake by only adding half of the ingredients, chances are very good that the end result will be disappointing.
No, to be sure, not only hearing but also acting is what is required to complete the drill. For many of us combining the two efforts in total faith might prove to be difficult. After all, it is not so tough if you feel led to do a better job of tithing or be more committed to work days at the church or helping out at the local food bank, even agreeing to teach a Sunday School class. Those are all things that can be done without really changing the overall dynamic of ones life but what if that call is to become a missionary, go into some other form of full time Christian service or some other thing that really and truly requires a serious alteration of you life style? How then will any of us react to that?
Of course that is a very private matter between you and God, nobody else has to be involved except of course a spouse who would most certainly need to be included in a decision of that magnitude but rest assured if God is calling you, He will also be calling them, maybe in a very different way, even at a different time but never doubt God does not leave loose ends. To be sure not all of us will be called in that way and I believe that in God's perfect plan, He simply will not call us to a task of which we are incapable. Your calling my be to serve as an usher, to help set up and dismantle tables, even drive a van in service to Him but be certain of this. If God is calling you to do that job then that is the job he has for you and you will find happiness and contentment in doing it.
So let's recap. Make time to be still and quiet before God, listen to His instruction, then act in faith and move in the direction of that to which you are being led whether the task be big or small. For in the end my friends living your life securely in the center of God's will is what will bring you real joy and contentment.