I wonder if as the world, rushes back to the task of commerce and we all attempt to find our footing again in a world that is turned upside down, if we will miss some important lessons God desires to teach us. I use the word wonder, as I have no word from God, I am not a prophet, with a new word from God, as I said in an email last week I am just a “Crusty Old Retired Guy” with more time on my hands that might be useful. However, as I think back to my days studying philosophy in the glory days of the 1970’s in the hallowed halls of Northwestern College, it was the philosophers who had time on their hands that tended to guide the culture. I wonder, once again if it is not time for a bit of reflection before we allow the technocrats to tell us how to live into this new future.
Over the past couple of days, the phrase, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10) has come to mind more than once. This morning as I was looking for that Psalm, I also found Psalm 37 has similar language, “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) In this day of instant everything, when was the last time you waited for something? Since we moved out here to Custer, I have not had a regular enough routine in the morning that I could set my coffee maker to come on before I wake up. Now I have to wait for that first cup of coffee in the morning. I am not sure it is the wait, or the anticipation, but there is something about waiting for what we desire that adds value to that experience. Then I have to take our location, high in the Black Hills. This means, as my neighbor reminds us that it snows 8 months out of the year. Up here, we wait with anticipation for the first signs of spring, only to see them covered in snow once again. Deb and I are learning the virtues of waiting. In the evenings, we wait for the deer to return to our meadow, in the morning we look out to see if they are back. At night, we wait for the stars (when it is not snowing). Waiting has become part of our lifestyle. While I occasionally get in a rush, I find myself slowing down a bit more to watch the world go by.
What about being still? I grew up with sound. My mother loved to listen to music, and our house was “wired” to the old phonograph player (this predated MP3 by the way). So wired in fact, we could load up the phonograph player with multiple records and head outside and still hear the music. Then someone introduced me to a transistor radio, and I learned I could listen to music wherever I went. (I even remember trying to sneak a transistor into school so we could listen to the World Series) Since that time, we have all gotten the smart phone with a variety of music apps, we have Pod Casts, and other ways to fill our ears with sound so it is increasingly difficult to be still and know what God is saying. Even out here, Deb and I have noticed an increase in traffic, an increasing level of noise, so we retreat the wilderness areas to hear silence again.
Back to being still? I still did not get to that did I? What if this virus time was part of God’s plan to invite his people to notice some things we have been rushing by? What if during this quarantine time, we were supposed to learn something about who God is and how He works? What if this was a time to be still and see God exalted and instead we rushed to figure out how to keep things the way they used to be. You see if we back up a bit in Psalm 37, we read “Commit you way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and you the justice of your cause like the noon day sun…” (Psalm 37:5-6) Maybe God is trying to teach the church today, and you and I, that all our plans and efforts to control our life and destiny are just as worthless as all our plans prior to the this pandemic. A former president just critiqued the current response saying no one seems to know what to do. Right wrong or indifferent, I am not sure that former president or our current president or presidential contender would have done things differently. When faced with unprecedented challenges, and seemingly insurmountable difficulties, it is easy to second-guess those in charge. I too find myself in that same position, so I am not going to tell those of you who are responsible for making difficult choices what to do. What I will do is invite you to consider, what might God be saying in this time that we need to hear? Where do we need to be still and know that He is God! I heard one pastor comment that many believers are running about acting like there is no God! I read on Twitter about Christian’s promoting conspiracy theories. Why? Why are we not spending time being still and listening to that still small voice of God?
Maybe you are still in the midst of the chaos and confusion. Maybe you are still not clear what God would have you doing. Then may I suggest that you look to a place like New Trails where you can get away from the news, stop listening to the latest pod cast, and come and find quietness and stillness where you might be able to listen to the voice of God? Maybe our past president is right, maybe the people who are supposed to be in charge don’t know what to do. However, I know that the God whom we worship does know. I am also convinced that if we as the body of Christ would take the time to pray for those who are in authority over us (Romans 13) then maybe, just maybe we can find ourselves emerging from this time in a place closer to where God would have us to be.
Then again I am just a “Crusty Old Retired Guy” with too much time on his hands. Then again, maybe that is what I am supposed to do, now that I have time to be still, and notice what God is up to. Either that or the isolation and quietness are getting to me. That is for you to decide. At the end of the day remember Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”