“Like the poets who have learned to sit still and sense the gratuitous unfolding of gift around them, I will wait on the Lord who, alone, is Joy”
Those were the final words of my last diary entry.
So much easier said than done.
Life barrels on relentlessly and I often feel the jarring consequences of being stuck inside the barrel. Of course, even when the barrel of life stops and I’m given the opportunity to be still, I feel the itch to be up and doing. I’m an accomplishment addict living in a world full to the brim with opportunities to keep my addiction strong. Pushers and peddlers at my shoulder, on the television, whispering from the magical world of the web, and haunting the church pew.
Perhaps the Psalmist felt similar urges and so he wrote these self-reminders: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret” (Psalm 37:7) and “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). A friend of mine repeats Psalm 46:10 to herself this way: “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be.”
Jim Eliot, that famous martyr of the Gospel, once wrote, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds.” Well, guess what? I don’t need literal noise, hurry, and crowds. I have plenty of all three swirling around between my ears.
Naomi’s advice to Ruth regarding her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, echoes God’s advice for me while I wait on Christ who is my kinsman-redeemer: “Sit still until you learn how the matter will turn out because your kinsman-redeemer will not be idle until he performs his job” (Ruth 3:18).
Christ is in the joy-filled business of proving himself adequate.
I fret. He performs.
Maybe it’s time to stand still at the shore of my personal Red Sea and watch the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13-14). Maybe it’s time to let Jesus rebuke my internal storms, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). Maybe it’s time to sit at the feet of The Great Poet, himself, that lavish assailant of my humdrum spirituality, The Holy Spirit, and absorb the overflow of his joy (Galatians 5:22-24). Surely the closer my proximity to him, the more his joy will splash onto me.
Maybe it’s time to lay my burdens down at the feet of Jesus, to be content with what I have for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Come Holy Spirit, teach me to sit.
Teach me to be still and know that you are God. To be still and know. To be still. To be. Teach me to be still and sense the gratuitous unfolding of You.
[Painting by Dr. Lydia Kozenitzky]