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.
“Sea of Galilee”