Be still. The words had not been shouted to the furious wind or issued to the sky, but spoken as though directly to my heart.
This line from the book Iscariot by Tosca Lee keeps repeating in my heart like a track on a scratched CD.
Have you ever been caught in a storm? Maybe not with actual raindrops falling from the sky, but with life blowing past you so fast you can feel it? With concerns and worries like thunder pounding through your heart and flashes of fear or sorrow like lightening sparking when you least expect or want them?
When the disciples were caught in a squall they felt helpless, hopeless. Jesus lay asleep while their boat pitched and flooded in the dark, turbulent sea.
But Jesus awoke and with composure said, “Be still.” The waves calmed and the clouds parted. What if He wasn’t just telling the waters and the heavens to chill? What if Jesus was telling the disciples, and in turn, us, to relax and find peace in Him?
I just went through a personal stormy season. Someone I loved died. And although I know he is now at peace and in heaven, it was an exhausting, disorienting and sorrowful journey. I had sleepless nights and anxious moments and heartbreaking sobs. Yet, as my family and I returned home from a week of ICU and Hospice and Visitation and Funeral, Jesus kept telling me, “Be still.”
I went on an early morning run hoping to clear some of the cobwebs crowding my brain. But as I turned a corner, I saw I wasn’t the only one in the neighborhood up before dawn. A mama fox with her two babies sat in the grass, enjoying daybreak and each other’s company. I stopped mid-step, pausing my run, surprised by their presence, their grace. We watched each other as the grayness of morning accepted the golden mist of an awakening sun. Be still.
Rushing out the house to get one of my four kiddos to their soccer practice, clicking off a checklist out loud, “Do you have your cleats? Water bottle? Shin guards?” a perfume halted my mouth and my feet. Sweet and ethereal I stopped and inhaled. The vase of lilies on the counter was sending off its fragrance as a reminder of all that is pure and honest and pretty. It was the opposite of hurrying, the antithesis of juggling and remembering. It was God’s creation—perfect exactly how it was made. Be still.
Clearing dishes off our porch on a steamy summer evening, the wind rattled through the branches in the woods behind our house. The predicted downpour crashed against the roof and leaked through the screens, and yet, at the same time sun gleamed on the wet leaves. How was this possible? I put down my stack of plates and forks and dashed out the front door, letting the rain pelt against my bare arms while the sun shone on my face. I searched the sky for a rainbow, turning in circles in our front yard. I never caught glimpse of the arch of colors I knew must be somewhere close, but the miracle of simultaneous rain and sun was enough to get me to cease my business and indulge my senses. Be still.
There is awe in tranquility, and yet we so often flounder, letting life’s concerns and to do’s swirl around us, sometimes developing into uncontrollable storms. Sometimes we hide from the thunder, cover our eyes from the lightening, or just put our wipers on full blast and try to plow through the rain. How beautiful that Jesus is always there, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how, reminding us to, “Be still.”
How about you? How is God telling you to be still?
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Laura L. Smith