We say it to children all the time. We say it in situations when they need to be quiet. We say it in circumstances when distraction could cause harm. We say it when order is to be maintained. Whether in a church, in a car, in a classroom, or at home we shush words spoken too loudly. We place a stabilizing hand to stop a restless, bouncing knee. We say once again, Please stop.
We mean to whisper our rebuke, but sometimes our words echo and resound. Others turn their heads. They respond to what they heard last, not what was said first to provoke the harsh retort. They form opinions and judge. They see childish innocence rather than the wisdom of discipline and the discernment of discretion. They think they know better. Or maybe we’re exhausted from repeating ourselves to these children we know so well during the week. Whether we know better or not, we know the hard truth: when we request (or insist) on stillness, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We say once again, Please stop.
Maybe in our weariness and desire for renewal, we find ourselves struggling to stay awake during the sermon. Or perhaps we are trying to navigate this particular lesson. Or we can’t understand why no one helps even as we refuse to ask for assistance. Maybe we sing a little too loud the words that comfort or we choose a different tune. Or we simply cannot sing one more note as the tears stream down our faces. Maybe we are simply trying to obey. We say once again, Please stop.
Consider Jesus. He is sleeping. He has spoken about seeds–where they are thrown and how they grow, how a light ought to shine, how even the smallest seed can create a spreading plant. Anyone would be exhausted after a day like that. Anyone could sleep through a storm. Someone might even be lulled by the rocking of the boat.
But, the crew–His disciples who heard the words–are terrified. There is no rest for them in the wake of the waves. They shake their Teacher awake and accuse Him of not caring whether they live or die.
They don’t realize Jesus isn’t just anyone. He knows this storm. He knows it all too well. After He rebukes the wind and says to the waves “Peace! Be still!” and the storm calms, He addresses the real turbulence. He calls out their fear and lack of faith.
He is God. If we know and believe that He is, that’s all we need to know. Yet, we rebuke those whispering in the service while we fight to stay awake through the sermon. We don’t understand why the storm rages on, why God doesn’t seem to care if we live or die as we fight to keep our own boat afloat. We don’t get it. He knows the storm. He knows it all too well. He calls it out.
The storm obeys. Why don’t–why won’t–we?
Because we are restless children thinking this life-sermon has gone on a bit too long. Doesn’t He care about the storms surging around and rocking our boats? Doesn’t He care whether we live or die? Oh, if we only knew! If only we would finally get it! Whether we are in a church, in a car, in a classroom, or at home (or none of these because the storms still rage), He knows this storm. He knows it all too well. When He calls it out–the fear, the lack of faith–let’s cease our striving. Let’s rest in the stern of His boat. Because He’s got this.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”Psalm 46:10 ESV
This is one of my favorite versions of “Be Still, My Soul.” Yes, it’s a different tune. But, so is the tone of the days we are living. The words are still the same.
Categories: In Addition
Book Reader and Reviewer
Labrador Retriever Owner
Mother of Three Boys
Quiet Moments (a rare commodity!)
Singer in Church Choir
Wife of My High School Sweetheart
Yarn-Lover (the wool kind and the story kind)