Be Still. And Know.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

In 2016 I had two necklaces made. One engraved with the words “Be Still” and the other with the words “And Know.” The “Be Still” necklace is gold and the “And Know” necklace is silver. At the time I thought I would wear these necklaces together one above the other on my chest to reflect the whole meaning of Psalm 46:10. I also intentionally chose to engrave each phrase on the particular metal because somewhere in the recesses of my mind I believed the “Be Still” portion of the verse was the most important portion.

For the last several years, I have worn at least one of these necklaces almost every day. I hardly leave the house without the “Be Still” necklace. While the “And Know” necklace has decorated my dresser, collecting dust and tarnishing a bit. I believe it’s been this way because I really needed the reminder to be still; to stop meddling, martyring, and manipulating situations and people to make me feel more comfortable in life. I also needed to learn how still the swirling thoughts in my head and not let them lead me down the well-worn path to anxiety overload. Wearing the necklace each day provided me a physical reminder to slow down, to step back, and to be still.

Recently, I looked at the tarnishing “And Know” necklace and felt a little sad for it. It sits on my dresser a little neglected, not worn or appreciated as much as its “Be Still” companion. As I looked at it, a thought occurred to me: Until now, it wasn’t time, yet.

“Yet.” Such a small word. Such powerful meaning. Through many Bible studies, I’ve continued to learn the word “yet” is always used when God is flipping the script on someone’s life. A passage can read as a list of worse case scenarios for many verses, then “yet” appears, and the rest of the passage reads only of redemption of those worst cases, and of the power of God.

When my thought, “Until now, it wasn’t time, yet,” occurred to me I immediately realized that as I’ve been praying about and considering what my verse for 2020 should be, it’s been staring me in the face all along. It’s time to revisit Psalm 46:10.

For three years, I’ve worked on learning to be still. Now is the time to know. To trust. To hope. To truly believe that God is who He says He is. That He is good and that He works all things for my good.

I thought being still was the hard part, the important part, the part that I really needed to learn. And it was and I did, to some extent. But the real lesson for me is “And Know.”

~

Recently, I did a “fun” exercise as the trainer called it. At the end of a rather grueling gym class, the trainer had us try handstands with the assistance of our TRX bands and a partner. The partner was supposed to act as a spotter and assist the person doing the handstand by guiding her feet and legs into position. Said spotter was also supposed to catch you when you fall…kind of like one of those trust games big corporations have their employees play when they are trying to build a healthy work climate.

My “fun” exercise ended in a dramatic swinging of the hooked-up leg into the person next to me as I tried desperately and failed to keep myself upright. My partner was not paying attention. Good news, the non-skid caught me.

That’s the thing about non-skid, it’s intended to stop things from moving, and it does its job well. I came to a crashing halt on my left elbow.

I stood up and brushed myself off, mostly checking my pride. The ache in my elbow was nothing compared to the embarrassment I felt about not being able to catch myself.

But that’s the thing. I wasn’t supposed to catch myself, I had a spotter, a partner. And that person failed me.

The thoughts I had in the split second I laid out on the floor was this: I shouldn’t have trusted. I shouldn’t have trusted the TRX strap and I shouldn’t have trusted a person I don’t really know.

And those thoughts made me really sad, mostly because I have a pretty tenuous relationship with trust right now. This was one more confirmation that I shouldn’t trust anyone or anything- except maybe non-skid. The non-skid showed up just like it was supposed to-it caused the max amount of friction possible to keep this body from being in motion any longer. And it hurt.

~

As a human, trust is tricky. Knowing that someone will show up or something will work is darn near impossible, because humans are fallible. Yet, it was just an experience, a circumstance, a worst-case scenario. This one-time thing is not the whole of my existence.

“And Know” is the refrain I hear in my head when an event, or a circumstance, or even a worst-case scenario actually bears itself out in my life. I hear it mostly because I have learned that God’s character is good, and though I am tempted to believe otherwise when life stops me in my tracks like non-skid, there is too much evidence of His goodness to forget for too long.

As this year and decade come to a close I will be shining up my “And Know” necklace, placing it around my neck, and wearing it daily to remind myself I couldn’t have learned the lessons I’m learning now, or flex the faith muscles I built in the stillness, because it wasn’t time, yet.

Be Still. And Know.

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Pexels.com

Resurrection

This Saturday, I am aware. I am both acutely aware of the cost of my salvation and that I have often lived as if Sunday never comes.

These three days from Good Friday to Easter are the most storied in Christianity. Death, life, and resurrection are the main tenants of being a believer.

Yet, this year I am looking at these three days differently. I have come across some great teachers, and they have broken down this miraculous story in a way my human mind can comprehend. Friday represents the death of the way things were. Saturday is the day of deep mourning and grief because things are not quite where they should be and it’s a bit scary to hope. And Sunday, Sunday is the celebration, the resurrection. It’s the day full of hope because the dead are brought back to life, though unrecognizable they may be.

Jesus was unrecognizable to even his closest friends and followers post resurrection. He was so magnificent, so glorious, that He had to show the scars on His hands and feet to be believed.* Resurrection does not simply mean that the dead are brought back to life-it means that the dead are given a NEW life.

Wishing for something to be as it once was is not hoping for resurrection. Hoping for resurrection is believing that something will be made new.

This is the first year I heard that truth and took it on board in my own life. There are areas of my life that I’ve wanted and prayed for what I thought was resurrection. In reality I was hoping for things to be as they once were.

Why would God even answer that prayer? He is so much bigger and better than the human mind can comprehend. Why would He give us what we once had, when it crashed and burned in the first place? Upon typing those words, that idea sounds even more preposterous.

So here I sit, in Saturday. For some relationships and things I want resurrected, I have been sitting for many Saturdays. That relationship or thing I had, died ages ago, and Sunday isn’t quite yet here. Perhaps, Sunday, isn’t here yet, because I have not been ready. I didn’t want a resurrection; I wanted what was. I wanted it exactly the same as it was before, before it’s death. So in His love and kindness, God has given me many Saturdays to grieve the things I lost, to mourn them and their importance in my life.

But, Sunday is coming. Resurrection and celebration of new life is coming. I can see the pink horizon of a new day dawning as my Saturdays draw to a close. I can feel the hope anew in increased laughter, love, and relationship.

I am aware that it may be a little terrifying to open the door to resurrection. It was for the followers of Jesus. Multiple times His followers were terrified in the face of the glory of a resurrected Christ and the men, “clothed in dazzling robes,” at the empty tomb.* New can be terrifying, because it is not what once was. And what once was often feels much safer and more secure than new.

Yet, despite all the arguments to stay in Saturday, the in between, the space of comfort and security of grief, I am ready to open the tomb. I am grateful for the push this year to pay attention to the new life. Though I may always bear the scars of Friday, I can step out of Saturday confident that Sunday is better. That it has been worth the wait. I can shed the fear of “what if.” There is nothing to what if, because it is not going to be the same. It is going be new, better than it was before.

Hallelujah.

 

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Photo by Matthew Stroup of Ad Hoc Fotography

*The asterisks reference scripture from the New Living Translation in the order they are written: Luke 24: 39-40, Luke 24:36-37, Luke 24:4-5

 

**The teachers I have learned from this Lenten/Easter season are She Reads truth, Annie F. Downs and Charles Martin. I encourage you to check out Annie and Charles’ podcast conversation and their books. I am better for having heard, read, and learned from them.

Link to podcast here:

https://www.anniefdowns.com/2019/04/12/episode-133-charles-martin/

She Reads Truth

https://shereadstruth.com/