I am in a perpetual hurry.
Maybe it’s my personality type (I blame you, Myers-Briggs!). Perhaps it’s how I was raised. (My dad used to stand in the kitchen ten minutes before we had to leave for somewhere and yell, “The bus is leaving!” There was no bus. Just a minivan. But still.) Or it could possibly stem from what in my heart I believe to be true:
Most things are just too slow.
Do you relate?
Impatience like this makes a devotional, spiritually disciplined, Jesus-centered life really hard. Growth takes time. Change takes time. God takes his time. We must give our time.
Psalm 46 writes of a chaotic world. Everything is in an uproar, from the earth itself as it quakes and rumbles to the nations that war against one another. The times we live in today are fast-paced, incendiary, exhausting. Wars and rumors of wars, indeed. Don’t even get me started on Twitter.
Yet near the end of the Psalm is a clear command from God that goes against the fabric of our sprinting selves:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
In our rush to do, do, do, we often miss building the foundation that will sustain us through the confusion of our times. Before rushing, be still. Before performing, be still. Before running off to serve God, to feed the kids, to brave the boss, to see the doctor, to post on Facebook, to achieve anything at all, be still.
If, when you are still, your mind races with a thousand thoughts, it can be helpful to meditate on a Psalm like this one. Meditation isn’t some crazy, mystical, monks-only exercise. It just means to chew on something. To mull it over. To pick the words apart and let them settle into your soul.
Come and see.
He makes wars cease.
The Lord Almighty is with us.
When we lived in Wisconsin we had a beautiful vegetable garden in the backyard. We were novice gardeners, my husband and I, so early in each season we struggled to divine what was a weed and what wasn’t. Sometimes we pulled out the good stuff. (Sorry, carrots!) But the veggies that we left in the soil for days and weeks and months, nurtured by sunlight and rain and that blackest-of-blacks rich, southern Wisconsin soil, grew strong.
When they were left in the ground, they grew. When they grew, they blossomed. When they blossomed, they produced fruit. Enough for our family to feast on, and enough to share, too.
In these controversial, chaotic times, be still. Let God grow your roots down deeply into the soil of his words so that you can weather whatever storm lies ahead.
You will find him in the stillness, and where he is, there is peace.