The Blessing of Being Still

God cares for the pelicans

This morning my mind is beset by the turmoil of this world. At every level anger, greed, lying, and pride inflict our country. National trust is eroded by the leaders who should preserve and cherish it, and even religious leaders trade truth and justice for political gain. On top of this no one knows how much we have been manipulated by our enemies using social media to push lies and distrust. Our anxiety surges with each news flash. Into this cacophony we are given words to meditate upon:

“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. Psalm 46:10-11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The stillness and peace we long for doesn’t come with one reading of these verses. It takes time before God with thanksgiving, until finally you can say:

I have stilled and quieted my soul; Psalm 131:2

Life is —

Rainbow coming from aspen grove

Rainbow, a promise of life. Genesis 9:13-15

Life is a gift, given on my birthday.
The moments start rolling each one a tick of the clock.
Life is each now, yet I overlook it waiting for something else.
Life is more delicate than how I treat it.
Life is beautiful, yet often my mind rummages in darkness.
Life is in family, yet I ignore those around me for my smart phone.
Life is loving others, yet my own desires are preeminent.
Life is to enjoy, yet I’m never satisfied with what I have.
Life is laughing at yourself, yet I never get what’s so funny.
Life is listening to the birds sing, yet I only hear the sound of money.
Life is a gentle breeze, yet I push against it.
Life is a gift, yet I am too distracted to receive it.
Lord give me the gift of life, then help me to live it.

Overcoming the Night

This morning I woke up at 3 AM chased by a nightmare. The dread of my thoughts kept me from falling back asleep. So I tried to pray, but the nightmare kept interfering. Finally in desperation I resorted to reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.”

“Our Father… my Father… my loving Father, hallowed be Thy name.” Yes, the name of Jesus, like a breath of fresh air, began to push my nightmare aside, for holiness does not tolerate the unholy. “Thy kingdom come,” a kingdom of rightness, and goodness, the thought of which makes me rejoice and desire its coming. “Thy will be done, on earth (here and now in me in triumph over my ugly thoughts) as it is in heaven.” How wonderful to know He will impress upon me, and my life, His good and perfect will (blessed are those who hunger and thirst for rightness for they shall be satisfied). As I prayed this for myself, I also prayed this for my family, my church, and my friends. It was at this point I could see clearly that my thoughts set the stage for this day, by either allowing them to drag me into dark ugly places or through prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit to behold the beauty of the Lord and worship Him in His temple.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

I cannot control my nightmares, but I can ask Jesus to push them away and fill me with His goodness. He even gave me a prayer for that very purpose.

Limitations of Words and Pictures

There are times when music transports me to the gates of heaven (this last Sunday singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” during worship was such an occasion). That moment, of deep calling to deep, stirred me in a way, that I want to help others share its fullness. But, when I go to write it down, the words are sorely inadequate. So I resort to photography, hints of heaven in nature. But then the photograph I take never quite recounts my glimpse of heaven. Therefore, when you look at the following picture, play your most stirring music, smell the fragrance of the ocean after a rain, and meditate on: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Then you may catch a glimpse of “Holy, holy, holy! The Lord God Almighty.”

Hope in the Storm