Karen Costea - February 18, 2023
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be honored among the nations. I will be honored in the earth.”
Sure thing, Lord. I’ll be still, just as soon as I check off all the items on this to-do list, research music for Holy Week, restock the pantry, and wrap up the spring cleaning. Sure! I’ll be still. Maybe. You know I am busy these days, between my job, my volunteer work, my home responsibilities, and all the busy-ness that is “church work.” But I’ll get around to being still. Soon. I promise.
And then, I fell. Literally, walking from the house to my car. Fell, crushing my ankle joint. Fell, missing a planner full of appointments for that day and the ones to follow. Fell, from my high horse of self-importance. Fell, into a position of forced stillness. Fell, into a new habit of being still and listening for the voice of God.
Here we are in the season of Lent, when we lay down our burdens, our sins, our hearts of contrition and prepare during the next several weeks to receive the greatest gift of all, greater than the baby in the manger … the gift of salvation that’s freely given to all in the resurrection of the crucified Christ. As the credit card commercial would tell us, “Priceless.” This season is more than a renewal of New Year’s resolutions. It’s an opportunity to give up or let go of those things in our lives that are holding us back, an opportunity to focus on the things that matter most.
Giving up and letting go is difficult, but it’s an essential part of our spiritual journey and clears the junk out of the way. This season is a time to practice self-discipline and sacrifice, a time to put aside our selfish wants and focus on our relationship with God. Yes, relationship! God isn’t just some puffy cloud-person up in the sky somewhere. He’s very real and wants to walk closely with each of us; that’s where “being still” comes into play. When our calendars are crowded with activities and our minds are full of “don’t forget” tasks, it’s easy to let our humanity get the best of us with negative emotions, attitudes and habits. Do we really need to binge-watch another 8-season TV show? It’s when we’re overscheduled to within an inch of our existence that we truly need to stop and just be still. Be still and listen for the voice of God, in the chirping of spring birds, in the hum of neighborhood mowers, in the scriptures written just for us. Be still… and listen.
Perhaps you’re holding on to bitterness, anger, or resentment. Maybe you’re struggling with a habit that you know is not good for you but you don’t know how to break it. At the risk of being labeled a simpleton, here’s a simple solution: be still. Look for the silver lining that’s there, even if you have to wipe off some of the grunge that’s tarnishing the shine. Be still, and know that God is God. He always has been, always will be, and is RIGHT NOW, wherever you are in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Anyone can praise God in the happy times; praising God when you’re on a more difficult path in the shadow of menacing mountains isn’t easy but it’s a necessary discipline on our way to celebrating the hope of the resurrection that we find in Easter. Until then, be still, give up, and let go.