Thursday, July 20, 2017

Knowing and Stillness

I've been feeling increasingly anxious lately as my long-term temp contract with Sysco Foods comes to an end soon with no word yet if they will offer me a full-time position or I will be laid off. I woke up this morning with tension in my body once again and my mind swirling over it.

As I sat with Psalm 46 for a few moments to help me enter into a time of silence and solitude, the Lord spoke powerfully to me. The phrase that spoke most clearly was "Be still, and know that I am God," a frequent guide into silence. Whereas sometimes I hear this phrase as some form of "Shut up, Scott, and respect God as God!" (which is a form of derogatory correction that actually exposes my functional view of God), this morning I heard it differently. It brought me into broad skies and green pastures.

Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 NIV

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present [and well proven] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The Holy Spirit applied this word to my situation:

Be still, Scott, and know me as God - your God, who leads, saves, cares for you and holds you. I AM your Shepherd, your God, so you don't have to be god. The pressure's off to figure everything out, to provide for yourself and your family, to make your life "work" and come out "right."

Trust in me with all your heart and lean on me instead of your own meager resources; your limited wisdom and power, your connections and experiences cannot bring you the peace and joy you were made for. In all your ways and means acknowledge me as your God and Father, know me as the living God who goes before you, is with you and has never failed you, and I will direct your paths and make them life-giving so you won't have to! You know well the burden of trying to make your paths straight and life-giving on your own; it leads to only weary despair. You don't need to do that anymore. Let go of your life as a thing to be managed and open yourself to the life I bring you moment by moment. Submit to this knowing and to the fruit it yields.

The job search is over, Scott. The job for "Shepherd, Father, Teacher and Lord" is over - I am more than able to care for you and those you love; my hopeful and joyful vision for your life is wide and vast, and has ample room for your uncertainty, anxiety, and struggles to learn. Your job is to trust and obey, mine is to guide and provide, save and heal. When you get these mixed up there is no end to your distress. My yoke is easy and my burden is light; rest for your soul is always right here, right now.

To "know that I am God" also means to "know that you are loved, safe and cared for." This is what the birds and flowers know without thinking about it. They are "careless in the care of God," and you can be too. They exist in the reality of my Kingdom and are not hurried or worried. Look to them and learn. Listen carefully for the slow patient work of God.

See Deut 31:8; 33:12; Matthew 6:25-34; 11:25-30; Prov 3:5-7; Ps 23, 46; Phil 4:4-7

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