Friday, November 09, 2007

Standing Still

We had our first snowfall a few nights ago. We woke to a thick layer of the white stuff coating our yard and making the streets and sidewalks slippery. I must admit I wasn't particularly happy to see winter arrive, but as we drove down the highway later that day I had to admit it was beautiful. The sun had come out, making the landscape shine as the rays bounced off the fresh coat of snow.

Not far from our home the highway crosses a good sized river. Large Spruce trees line the banks and the hill rising above it. Seeing their dark forms outlined in white made me want to be among them, standing still in the middle of that dark forest. It reminded me of earlier days when I used to go cross-country skiing in a large park. The trails we skied ran for miles into deep forests of large pine and spruce trees. Often there were few people that far out and I remember many times taking a few moments to stop and just stand in the midst of that forest, breathing in the scent and the quiet and just loving being there. As we whisked by that forested hillside the other day it made me realize how long it's been since I did something like that. It's been too long and I have felt the lack of it in my life.

There's a short verse in the Bible that we are all too apt to miss. It's in the middle of Psalm 46 that speaks of our Mighty God - a God who is all powerful and sovereign over all the earth. That small verse says - "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps.46:10).

Our lives are so busy in this modern world that we don't often take the time to walk in a deep woods, to be still and take in the beauty of our world, or to take in the awesomeness of God. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we feel the lack of taking that time in our lives. Some of us don't even know how to be still. We are so used to going at a frenetic pace that slowing down leaves us feeling uncomfortable and even irritable. Road rage is evidence of the fact. High blood pressure and stress related diseases bear witness.

In a spiritual sense, we often are so busy "working for the Lord" that we don't take time to enjoy Him. We will feel the lack of that in our lives too. We will suddenly wonder why we're working so hard, why we don't feel refreshed, why we don't feel the presence of God anymore. It won't be long before we are feeling dry and burned out.

Perhaps it's time for us all to be still. Go stand in the middle of a deep dark forest resplendent with snow. Or stand by a roaring ocean and watch the waves crash. Or stand in a quiet room and know God is there beside you - the God of the universe who is sovereign over all.

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