Sunday, July 19, 2009

Seeking and Knowing


Be still, and know that I AM GOD. Psalm 46:10

A lot of us are seeking right now. We may be seeking healing for physical and emotional pain…or answers to tough questions, like “What’s next for me?” “Where am I supposed to be living?” “What is my purpose in life?” “What have I uniquely been designed to do?” We’re seeking relationship with God, who we’re just not feeling that close to right now. And we’re seeking peace as we seek.

I was praying about this and heard that inner voice say, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And it dawned on me. When I’m seeking, I tend to want an answer right away. If I don’t get one, I want to DO something, and that something is often thinking, worrying, ruminating constantly. That leads me straight to anxiety, restlessness, even sleepless nights of tossing and turning. I know full well that God tells me, “Do not be anxious about anything…” but off I go!

So when I heard that still small voice, I decided, “Okay, I’m really going to try to quiet my mind, to be still before you Lord and to go about my day with a mind that is more sensitive to You.” Peace started to settle in. I headed out to church and not surprisingly the scriptures were a perfect fit for my mindset. I was reminded in Jeremiah that the Lord is my Shepherd and He tends to me as one of His flock…He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul, He comforts me, and protects me so I need not be afraid (Psalm 23)…and in the Gospel reading, we were told that the apostles were so busy preaching and ministering, they didn’t even have a chance to eat. So Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Sounds like a very good idea…

The priest shared some thoughts on the scriptures. He stressed the need for sanctuary, a sacred place of refuge, in our lives; not a place, but a space that lies within the core of our being, where God dwells. As little as 5-10 minutes of quiet communion with God allows Him to speak to us, give us His will, share His wisdom, and renew our spirit. Surely I can fit that into my busy day.

You Are Mine
, one of my favorite worship songs, was also part of the service:
“I will come to you in the silence.
I will lift you from all your fear.
You will hear my voice.
I claim you as my choice.
Be still and know I am here.”

My story doesn’t quite end there…I “happened” to clean off my bulletin board. Buried under the multi-layers of papers thumbtacked to my board was a prayer someone had e-mailed me some time ago. It was just perfect! So for all you seekers out there:

Father, I pray for all of us who are seeking, as we are desiring to know your will for our lives. I pray that you would place within us those eyes to see and ears to hear as we are wanting you to speak and show us your perfect plan. Affirm your voice to us through other people, through books we’re reading, through sermons at church, etc., so that we would know with confidence where it is you are leading us. I pray Luke 5:11 for us, that we would be willing to leave everything (our own desires, other people’s expectations) to follow you and you alone. Grant us your peace and joy and rest in the journey of waiting on you. Shower us with your love. I pray John 14:28 that our hearts would not be troubled and we would not be afraid. Establish the work of our hands as we go about your business.

How about you? How's your sanctuary? Are you spending any time there?


  1. The timing of this was uncanny, as I read Psalm 46 last night before going to bed! When the Lord says, "Be still...", it's right after the psalmist talks about His power. What I got out of it was not a soothing "aw, calm down, sweetheart" (although that's His heart, too!), but a loving yet firm: "Let all your tumultuous striving be silent--I am God, and you are not. Be still."

    That meant so much to me, and comforted me more than a softer approach. I am a striver by nature, and I can often grab the baton and run in the wrong direction in my eagerness to see results. But God has my family in a holding pattern as He uses a megaphone to direct us right now. It's *not* the "still, small voice" in this season as it often is. He seems to want to make sure that we get it, and get it on HIS terms, and the sense is that whatever He has coming for us is *truly* His "good, pleasing and perfect will".

    Matthew 11 says that He conceals things from the "wise" and reveals them to the "childlike". We are really feeling His loving authority--not His discpline per se, but His absolute wisdom and guidance. Oh, how I love Him for that!

  2. This summer has presented some anxiety-ridden moments for me. My socially well-adjusted child struggled with his summer camp situation and was miserable. It was frustrating because much was due to his own insecurities and he didn't seem to want to make things better on his end. I was so tempted to pull him out, but he has a history of quitting when things get tough and is at the age where I can't make things better all the time. It's a hard charge for me, to stand back and watch as my children struggle; but I spent a great deal of time and prayer and I'm confident that difficult as it is to watch them, God's plan is for us all to learn from challenging situations as well as pleasent ones. I was guilt ridden and his counselors and the program director were worried about him as well. I prayed (at first) that he put himself out there and make friends with the other campers and take advatage of the wonderful trips and excursions offered. I prayed that he'd find confidence and put effort in the academic programs there. I must admit, it didn't help I changed my strategy. I started parying for God to help ME cope with the situation, and guide me as to how to parent both of my children while allowing them to struggle and sometimes fail. It reminds me of what many pop psychologists say, you can't change anybody but yourself. SO this has been the summer where I learned to but my prayer focus on asking God to help ME cope with my anxiety while giving me the tools to make the right decisions concerning my son. He is STILL unhappy at camp, but reluctantly admitted to having several new friends, and has made great academic progress as well. Now that he is about to come home, he seems proud to have stuck with it. I thank God for giving me the wisdom and patience I needed. It's true Elise, we all want quick fixes, but sometimes there's not much to be learned from them. The prayer DOES'T go:

    God grant me the serenity NOW!!!!...

    as much as we'd welcome a calming quick fix, sometimes emotional peace takes time!

  3. Joe and I were caught in HORRENDOUS traffic yesterday, after a lovely day of worship, picking blueberries and watching a gorgeous sunset. I actually stuck my head out of the car window and screamed! The car was not my sanctuary...but I discovered God is. I could choose to let the traffic ruin my day or concentrate on the good parts and the loving companion God put in the car with me. I finally chose the latter...We got home at 12:30am and had a great night's sleep...

  4. Elise this is a nicely written message about a time of solitutude and contemplation with the Lord. It does take a reminder, frequently, to make the choice of quietude vs. amplitude. Thanks for this. Chris

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