I had an article to post last week but didn’t think it was appropriate for the Easter season. Actually, I am several weeks overdue. I’ve been processing a very deep, wide, and lingering grief. Yet, no sadness intrudes alone. God consoles through continuous, “take for granted,” daily provisions. God comforts through His quiet presence. I breathe; therefore, I am thankful.
It is spring time. I love the increased conversation, both private and public during this rejuvenating season, about the life of Christ. So, I was anticipating Resurrection Day – Easter Sunday. While I knew I would not attempt the Sunrise Service (at 7:00 a.m., long after sunrise), I did expect to attend the breakfast and worship service. Not so.
Saturday night was a hard night for me. While I went to bed at 9:00 p.m., I was up by 10:30 and was up much of the night. My pain level made me both nauseous and dizzy. The invisible trash compacter, as I call this crushing pain of muscle contractions and heightening nerve anger, was determined to follow its full course. No Easter fellowship for me on Sunday morning. No joining the grateful, corporate mourning of the price our Savior paid mingled with the grateful, corporate joy and relief of a Risen Savior.
For me, Resurrection Sunday morning concluded a nightmare night. No complaints here, you understand!
I face no condemnation. My Savior was condemned in my place! He endured the cross, despising its shame — because of the joy set before Him. The joy of returning to the Father and sitting down at His right hand. The joy of making a home in heaven for all who call upon Him in faith, including me. These goals were/are for Him a weight of glory far exceeding His agony.
No complaints here. I breathe; therefore, I am grateful. My physical miseries are only for this lifetime, and blessings are always folded into the hurt. I’m grateful for the limited years of a lifetime. “As your days, so shall be your strength,” claims Moses (Deuteronomy 33:25). And the measure of that strength varies from day to day and hour to hour, and from person to person. It’s enough.
So, Sunday morning, when I did arise from my nightmare night, I shuffled in a fog around the house. Paul had left for church. All was quiet. The dizziness and nausea lay like wild creatures in dark corners waiting for any sharp movement or sound. I was improving. The trash compacter had lowered its decimals. Enough of this description. Who would want to read this?
Resolving to make something meaningful of my Resurrection Sunday morning, I found (a “God-thing”) a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley online and listened to it. Soothed my anxiety. I found my heart releasing regrets and guilt, disappointments and sadness, and hopes and dreams. I’d been working on this “release and heal” process for at least some time (a month? most of my life?), and this sermon, so gently given, touched all my heart-wounds.
The sermon reminded me of the well-known verse, Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” The perplexity has always been in the how: “How do I obey this command?” Oh, yes. “Be still.” That’s like asking the ocean waves to stop, I tout (or is that pout?). But this comparison is not wise, because it is not accurate. The ocean waves are connected with the moon, an outside force that is never commanded to change its course, so the waves are never commanded to be still. How can our busy hearts “be still”?
The NASB translates that same command as “stop striving”. “Stop striving and know that I am God.” Oh. “Stop striving”. Actually, for me, that makes more sense. It’s like being told to shut up. Stop talking. Oh. My mouth can do that. Stop talking. I remember a number of school teachers telling me this. “Karen. Turn around and stop your talking. I’m talking now. Pay attention.” This gives me a mental picture.
“Be still” means to stop listening to myself and my friends. Listen to my teacher. “Stop striving and know that I am God” is like God saying to me, “Karen, stop talking and listen to me. I’m your teacher. I’m in control and you are not.”
That helps me. Another time we can consider the audacious command to “know that I am God.” That’s a WOW one. Anyway, it takes Spirit control (“I gratefully surrender”) to stop my heart from talking so I can be still and really hear God.
This is not a bad set-up, I suppose, for the sermon Dr. Stanley gave that touched my heart. (Remember that the Bible includes the mind, emotion, attitudes, desires, and will as all components of the spirit-soul-heart which is the eternal self, the real you.) So, the sermon is called “Waiting on God’s Timing”. Waiting on God’s timing is really waiting on God. That’s what you do when you’re “still”, not striving. When you shut up.
So, here’s a link to that sermon:
I will post shortly (in about a week, I hope) the article I wrote that was supposed to be this post. My night before Resurrection Day and my Resurrection Day morning changed my plans for this post. I wanted to encourage you with the encouragement I received. Pass this on to anyone you know who may need this too.
You know that my New Year’s Resolution was to “keep on keeping on”. That is, I resolved to not give up or give in. My nightmare night tested my resolve. Dr. Stanley reinforced my resolve with insight into waiting on God, which is what is required in the journey of “keeping on keeping on”.
This Resurrection Day Resolve is not the typical message for the Easter season. But then, it sure could be. Christ’s resurrection is all about about eternal life in Christ. Life in Christ is about keeping on keeping on, about being still in order to know God. Yes. Resolved: be still – stop striving, shut up — and listen. Wait on God. After all, He is here. What comfort.
Thanks Karen, this was wonderful. Praying God’s best for you.