Lord, Calm My Waters
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
My wife tells me I'm awkwardly still. While other people gesture and move around in conversation, I'm statue-like. That's probably awkward. But while I am still physically, the waters of my soul rage within me. I hunger for something, and my mind races to catch it.
The pace of life can toss me around. Too often I let it, floating in its churn. Though I am happy, I know there is something my heart needs which I have only sampled.
Are you with me?
You have to understand this is more than a busyness problem. Busyness is a problem, but it is not the problem. Busyness is a symptom. We should treat the symptom of busyness with solitude, rest, and worship but we must look beyond busyness. Why are we so inclined to be so busy?
It isn't the "world", either. Yeah, I lament the pinging of technology and constant clanging of attention-seeking media like everyone else. There is a lot of bad stuff out there, no doubt. Living in a fallen world is rough on the soul, but it isn't the problem.
Our hearts are the problem. My heart is the problem.
My heart longs for something which is here but not here. It's the itch that cannot be scratched. I have seen glimpses of it in many places: the sun shooting rays through branches of mountain cedar, a redfish tugging on my line, my wedding day.
The Corinthians must have been like me. Like all of us. Here is what Paul wrote to them in his second letter:
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4)
That is it. That's what I'm talking about. I want to be further clothed. I want God to suffocate that which is mortal in me (my pettiness, my pride, my insecurity). I want my mortality to be swallowed up by life. I bet that would be calming.
I believe this will happen completely when I meet Jesus face-to-face.
Reworking the Definition of Contentment
Isaiah 46:10 does not say, "Be still, and know yourself." It does not say, "Be still, and meditate." It does not say, "Be still, and take a vacation to Hawaii."
It says, "Be still and know that I am God." Be still and know. The knowing of God makes the storm clouds disperse. When we know him in all of his power, glory, and love we are able to be still. If God is not there, we have much reason to freak out in this crazy world. But he is, and we have much reason to stop. Just stop. God, please make us stop.
We must reorient what we aim for. It must be a healthy aim, a lasting aim, an aim that doesn't trick you. Here is what we must know:
Who we have is the God who made the universe with his voice. The God who knits babies and topples kingdoms and rescues us from ourselves. The God who loved man enough to become him, knowing it would lead to his murder and torment.
Thus, we have much reason to be still. We are in his hands. We are covered by his wings and protected by his army. It does not mean we will not be wounded - we will. We will wound ourselves sometimes, too. But it's never fatal.
The saving work of Jesus creates in us the ability to be still. To exhale and submit our worries as we rest in his arms. But if you're like me, you take this luxury of love for granted. You wriggle out of his arms and go look for something new.
We want life (or Life) to swallow our mortality. We groan for it. Our hearts long to be further clothed in permanence. In significance. In love. This is available to us, right now. The Spirit lives inside the body of believers.
Let me ask you something: do you think he is capable? Do you think the Spirit can do something about your restless soul? Do you think he can moor your heart to its rightful anchor?
He can. Ask for his help.
Lord, Calm My Waters
I wrote this poem for those of you who, like me, who struggle with a busy soul. It is for those of you who know the love of Christ, but too often your heart is overworked and disappointed by looking elsewhere.
Lord, calm my waters
Smooth them as a sheet
The place I know but get lost when I go
Would you wrap me up, and make me still?
What's next, what's new, look over here
I look away
A child lost in a crowd of his choosing, thrashing
Cool me in the shade of your wings
My mortality crushes my ribs
Running faster to escape, or find
Unclothed, I know it
But you hover over the face of the waters
You lead me beside still waters
Can you lead me inside to mine?
Show me the path, I'm blind
Lord, calm my waters.
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