The Tension in Stillness

They say “be still and know He is God”…

So blithely at times.

But have they ever done that part?

Some time outdoors can renew a heart to wait

I still find that being still can be one of the hardest parts of waiting on God…

When being “still” means motionless.

It reminds me of getting sick and then getting better, but not all the way better. There’s energy and recovery that have taken place, but not enough that it’s time to get out of bed and back into it. But not enough of feeling “bleh” that you are fine with it. It’s a restless, cabin fever-type thing when the default is a mode of action, but you have to keep telling yourself to keep calm, don’t rush, don’t try to make anything happen because a quiet Voice inside is telling you, “shhhhh…” and gently steering you away from action for the sake of action.

Another experience I can liken this stillness to is when you feel like something should be happening and isn’t happening akin to getting out of school for summer break or just quitting a very hectic, frantic pace. There’s this settling into the quiet only to suddenly jerk yourself back up as if to say, “Wait a minute! Shouldn’t something be happening?! Shouldn’t I be doing something?!”

I never thought of it before but it’s almost like there is a desperate form of attention in this place, one where you can see and notice even the faintest sounds or slightest movement and the fasting from acting strengthens an alertness and a readiness for movement that can be triggered by the tiniest thought…

This is presently what it means for me to “be still and know.” It is a difficult space to be in, but it is the very place God works the most in.

Walks in nature can help too

“Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.” —Ecclesiastes‬ ‭11:5‬

So here is the part where faith steps into the wait. Waiting on God at His Word, at His promise to perform it, is all about trusting His (not my) movement.

This waiting is what makes the weary strong, despite its tendency to require a different kind of “swim in place” strength. For it’s in waiting of this stage that it becomes clearer that what I wait on is not all dependent upon me. There’s a God Who is living, active, working on my behalf.

“For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.” —Isaiah‬ ‭64:4‬

To accept the wait is to accept the challenge of faith: I am choosing to believe that God indeed is mindful of me, working what I cannot see, making ways in the wilderness, adjusting me internally, readying the stage for the new He’s going to be ushering in for me.

And in this wait-place, I find the confidence to face my uncertainties, name my feelings, pour out my disappointments, hopes, and dreams before the Only One Who can truly satisfy me with the answers I need.

Strength arises in the wait-place.

Hope rises in the wait-place.

Renewed vision comes in the wait-place.

Remembered promises float up in the wait-place.

Courage to believe bubbles up in the wait-place.

Weariness melts and hunger pains calm in the wait-place.

Suffering’s edge becomes soft in the wait-place.

Rigid hearts gain greater malleability in the wait-place.

Faith to take one more step after the other in response grows in the wait-place.

And often, the significant waits seem to be the hallmark of significant revelation coming from our God.

So today, I stopped. I noticed. I recalled…by going through old photos on my phone and deleting what I didn’t want.

(After all, what else do you do when you are waiting with no open doors for something else to do?)

The temptation is to strive, but that is to miss the point, for aimless striving is not the same as yielded action listening for and then responding to His Voice.

And in the deleting, I found old memories…

Memories of His faithfulness I had captured over the years to remind me.

Memories of old seasons when He had provided unexpectedly for me.

Memories of encouragements I spotted in my environment and in the scenery.

Memories of verses and pages He had used to minister to me.

Memories of promises that He made and reminded me of then, and now reminded me again.

Really, I am writing to help me in the intensive portion of this waiting. And because I know the life of faith is marked by much waiting, I hope it will be a marker for my future waiting—

To remind me that even when I can’t see…

He’s working.

Even when no one is emailing or responding…

He’s working.

Even when the instructions and assignments wane to a trickle, then…dry up…

He’s working.

Even when I feel like maybe I should be doing more or trying another door or getting up…

He’s working.

My job is to remain in position, awaiting His instruction, being faithful with the many or few things He’s entrusted to my today.

It’s still hard to wait.

Painful at points with all this nail-biting tension. 😬

But now, I remember why I wait— That everything that happens in life is not all up to me—

And I remember on Whom I wait.

“For yet in a very little while, He Who is coming will come and will not delay.” —Hebrews 10:37

So quiet myself and ask His help— that’s what I’ll do to wait.

And when it’s time, and His instruction comes, I will be ready, set, rested, away! Time to go through the door that God opens and not miss out because of being distracted by other things.

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