Saturday I learned a valuable lesson. And as usual, I did it the hard way! Why do I always do that?
We were getting ready for company. I had just woken up from a nap, and I wanted to get the carrots cut so I could go downstairs and paint my nails. So…I was rushing. You can guess what happened, right? Yup, not only did I cut off part of my middle fingernail, but a chunk of skin too. Ouch. It wasn’t pretty.
Needless to say, painting my nails was now out of the picture. I was forced to be still in order to stop the bleeding.
Why does it take pain to make us be still? Will we ever get it? God wants our attention always. He wants to be first in our lives. I’m the first to admit, I’m guilty of forgetting this important lesson.
My painful incident with my finger reminded me of an article I wrote about the Sea of Galilee (featured in “Other writings…” of my website), but I would like to share it here again because I believe the message is so important for ALL of us. I’m reminding myself of it too.
The Sea of Galilee was also my favourite part of my Israel journey. To float in a boat on the very sea Jesus walked on, amazed me. Words cannot describe it. However, I will try. Be still and listen to the words God gave me.
The waves slapped the side of the boat, causing it to gently rock back and forth. My sister and I listened to what was going on around us. Silence. Stillness. Serenity. I wondered if this is what it felt like when Jesus calmed this very same sea over two thousand years ago.
It was a beautiful evening. The captain had just cut the engine and we marveled at being out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. The stars shone brightly and the lights of Tiberias, Capernaum, Tabgha and the other Galilean towns flickered in the background all around us. Everything was still. Tears started to form in my eyes as I thought about my mother and how she had planned to take this trip. It had been her dream to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Her tour was booked and she was anticipating the adventure of visiting the sites of Israel. Little did she know then, it would be done through her daughters’ eyes. She would take a journey, but it wasn’t one that she had expected this early.
I held my sister’s hand as a verse popped into my head. “Be still and know that I am God.” It was a verse we had repeated frequently over the last year. It’s such a simple command, yet so complex.
How do we “be still” and “know God” in an age where everything is moving so quickly around us that we can’t keep up? We have fast food restaurants, cell phones, text messaging, internet, credit cards, on-line shopping, etc. We are constantly trying to keep up with everyone around us. We get over-involved in the church, our children’s school activities, sports, computer games and television. We are working extremely hard to afford the biggest houses, but we’re never home to enjoy them. When will it stop?
Sometimes God allows circumstances in our lives that cause us to be still. For me, it was when we found out our precious mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Our family felt like we had been punched in the stomach. How could this young, energetic, wonderful woman be dying from such a terrible disease?
I wrestled with God and asked Him why He would allow this to happen to a woman who only wanted to serve Him. While I was struggling with this news, my mother handled it entirely different. She loved her Savior wholeheartedly and chose joy through it all. She began telling strangers she was taking a trip; an eternal one. Even though they looked at her strangely, joy illuminated her face and caught their attention. I was amazed and her infectious attitude began to work in my life.
Even though this was an extremely difficult journey, God taught me to wait upon Him. I realized I couldn’t control what was going to happen to my mother and after a heart wrenching conversation with Him, I finally gave in. He loved her more than I did. He taught me to savor every moment I had with her.
I also realized I hadn’t been spending the time with God I should be. I wasn’t being still. I was too busy trying to get things done around me that I forgot about Him. He wanted my attention and it was time for me to give it to Him.
Just like the captain cut the engine on the boat that night and we rocked back and forth before we felt the tranquility, God uses circumstances in our lives to rock us before we can learn to be still. But once we do, He gives us a peace that passes all understanding. Even in the storms of life.
Psalm 46:10 (KJV)
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Port at Tiberias
Boat we took to cruise the Sea of Galilee
Looking at the town of Tiberias from the Sea of Galilee