“Lord, help me to be still in you. I feel exhausted doing nothing but wait.”
This was my prayer to God a few months ago. Due to my health condition, I was restricted to do the activities and things that I needed and loved to do. I felt like I was being caged. It caused me to stop, re-think, and re-evaluate my life in line with God’s perspective.
How can I be still when things are out of my way? Is “quietness” a good response to chaos and noise?
For the past years, my life had been in a fast-paced mode. I was able to deal with it effectively, though. I enjoyed being hurried and in constant motion due to work, church, ministries, and even socialization with as many people as I could handle. I had a hard time slowing down. In my mind, in order for me to be productive, I must maximize and use every single second. I need to do all the things I could do. Sometimes, at the stake of my daily devotion with the Lord. That’s how the world perceives productivity, anyway. Sadly, it deeply influenced me.
That’s where the Lord met me. He allowed this storm in my life to get my attention and know how to be still in Him. I went overboard. I could not hear Him anymore. The noise outside was pressing me to turn my focus on the crowd, not on Him. I was just going through the motions. However, I was still very resistant thinking that if I am still, I would accomplish nothing. But I proved it is the other way around. It is true that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Thus, in Him we can actually do more.
Being sickly made me paused for a while. Deep in my heart, I knew that this is God’s way for me to realize what matters most in life. It is never easy to be still and trust God even in these moments of frustration, discouragement, and hopelessness. During the first months of being out of work, I could barely fall asleep. My mind was full of plans on how to sustain and provide for myself and my medication. In the same way that it was occupied with doubts, fears, and uncertainties about the future. I had sometimes experienced depression.
But God is good no matter what. His love transcends and reaches even to the most stubborn human like me. His daily grace becomes sufficient for me to rise up and make those low moments praiseworthy.
The story in Mark 4:35-41 greatly ministered to me. When the disciples experienced a great storm, they panicked. They woke Jesus up and even told him “carest thou not that we perish?” And Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea by saying, “peace, be still.” Then He said, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
The disciples were afraid that they might perish, not minding that Jesus was with them. They started to complain. Because they focused on the situation, they forgot how Jesus was able to perform wonders and miracles.
Notice that amidst the chaos, Jesus was peacefully asleep in the bottom part of the ship. He was still. It was not that He did not know what was happening but to test His disciples’ faith.
Many times, I become like the disciples. I lack faith. I am in constant motion. Due to that, I panic and become restless trying to figure things out. I tend to forget who God is because I rely on what I can do when things are out of order. I depend on myself to solve and fix my situation. But God taught me how to be like Him- to trust and be still even in the midst of life’s raging storms. Unlike the disciples who approach God as if they were dying and so they lacked faith, we are reminded to do the other way. When we are tempted to do things on our own, we need to surrender our will to Him and just be still in His feet when trials and heartaches come along.
It is a sad reality that when we face life’s cruelty, we panic and hurriedly question God. As I looked back on those times that I panicked and worried because of my health, daily provision, and plans for the future, God never failed to sustain and reveal Himself to me. My worries and fears never came to pass. It was only in my mind all throughout. Because of that, I learned the value of stillness and trust. My heart can now be quiet and at rest in the promises of my God. He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Is it easy now to just sit and be quiet when confusion comes around? I believe so, by God’s enabling grace.
He wants us to fully give the control of our lives so He can do His perfect will for us. He never intends to harm us, but His will is the best for us.
When there is trust, there is quietness. When there is faith, there is stillness and peace.
God used my condition to restrain and let me be set apart from a hurried world. When I finally learned to be still and let God do the work, I found peace. There is peace that I never had when I was busy building my own world apart from God. Now, there is quietness that makes me feel at rest in Him who called me for a greater purpose.
Those days that I could not do anything but talk to God were very precious. Those were the times that God was molding me to be quiet and put my complete trust in Him. Tears and heartaches are part of it, but there is always a relief in uniting our hearts with God through humility of heart.
Stillness and quietness are learned. They are the result of putting our faith and trust to the One who is in control. When we know and believe that things do not just happen without His permission, then we will be confident and never be worried with uncertainties and troubles. We can always hope for the best according to His will. We might not get the result that we want, but we rest in full assurance that “all things work together for good (to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose) (Romans 8:28).
He cares so much. Yet, we often fail to recognize it. We tend to neglect it because we are so much concern with ourselves and the answers that we look for instead of seeing Him through.
Is your life in chaos? Do you find impossible to just sit and talk to God? Seeking Him is the key to be still amidst the uncertainties and dramas of life.
P.S. I am enjoying a lot of time alone with the Lord. I would not trade these moments of being alone with Him with the temporary happiness of the world.