Thursday afternoon I got the news that my mother-in-law had died. My husband’s mother. The amazing woman I sobbed beside at a Pittsburgh cemetery as U. S. flags were placed in our arms in honor of Dave’s service.
And in saying goodbye to this precious woman, it all came back to me in rushing waves. The early morning phone calls and frantic driving of nine years ago. The eyes of the emergency room doctor avoiding mine as he chose his words carefully, words that forever changed the course of my life. “He’s gone, Mrs. Hiles. We did all we could.”
Death has a way of doing that, you know. Facing a new loss brings us back to a place we thought was sealed and done. It re-opens old wounds and forces us to re-evaluate once again the truths of God’s word in face of present circumstances.
As I paced the floors hearing the story of Mom’s last moments, my eyes fell on a painting I had made the week before on the anniversary of Dave’s death (side note: creating something can be a wonderful concrete way to grieve). During that day of remembrance I felt I needed to not just sit and stew but needed to create something lasting. It was simple. Just four words:
Be. Still. And. Know. (Psalm 46:10)
In the face of what any given day will cause us to face, sometimes we need to simply do this.
Be. Still. And. Know.
But how is this possible in the face of trials and pain and goodbyes that happen long before we think they should? When the fires of life threaten to consume us…when grief overwhelms and God seems far, how can we simply ‘be still’?
For the next four days we’re going to look at how to do just that. Four words. Four days.
Be. Still. And. Know.
Today is simply ‘BE’.
In Daniel Chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were cruising along with their lives, following the one true God, doing what He had called them to do. King Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler at the time, full of self-importance, wanting it to be all about him. He served many gods and thought himself almost god-like!
He had a giant idol built of himself. ‘Worship it’, he said. ‘Bow down only to me’.
The three Hebrews refused. They would worship no one but Jehovah. King Nebuchadnezzar flipped out. Ordered the furnace heat up seven times hotter and ordered them to be thrown in.
‘Normal’ life had suddenly took a turn for the worse. They were facing the impossible and there was nothing they could do about it.
Except to ‘Be’.
And what did that mean to them? Simply to ‘be’ who they were.
Followers of Jehovah. Serving the one true God. Even when the world turned upside down, refusing to deny God.
In the face of whatever life throws at us, sometimes we need to first simply ‘be’. To anchor our shifting emotions on God’s truth even while we feel the flames getting hotter. The ‘no matter what’ truth of His sovereignty and faithfulness.
It is what it is. But He is who He is.
And who is He?
The Lord is good, a stronghold in a time of trouble and he that knows him continues to trust in Him. Mahum 1:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. Psalm 28:7
My heart and my flesh may fail, but He is the strength of my heart, my portion forever Psalm 73:26
Knowing this, daring to believe this, we can choose to respond as Paul did:
None of these things move me, neither do I count my life as dear, except that through me, He be glorified. Acts 20:24
And so during this impossible week, faced with both the memory of Dave’s death nine years ago and saying goodbye to his mom, I needed to once again go back to the beginning and re-affirm His truth.
He is in control. I am His child. For today, I can simply rest in that. And ‘be’.
Tomorrow finds our Hebrew friends bound with ropes, paralyzed as they are thrown into a situation that feels as though it will surely consume them. Ever felt that way? Me, too. You know, I’ve read this story for years but was simply blown away by what God showed me this time. You’re gonna love it!
Be. Still. And. Know. Four words. Four days.
Come back tomorrow for ‘Still’.
Until then…remember ’Be still and know, that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10)