Links Daily Devotional

Holy Interruptions

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a, NIV)

If you are a fan of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, you may have spent the weekend twiddling your thumbs. Just when the momentum was building from the young-gun wins of Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, the schedule hiccupped. A week off.

From where I write, in Central California, the scene is also quiet. The Rough Fire has now burned more than 100,000 acres of storied forest lands and the smoke is pouring into the valley. The sky here is a dingy yellow, like a photograph badly filtered. Ash is alighting on parked cars. People are staying inside. Those who would breathe won’t be playing golf today.

What do we do when the pause button is hit for us like this?

It has been said, “People don’t mind change; they mind changes being made for them.” The saying is apropos here. Let me pick my own vacation, and I am, let’s say, a happy camper. But force a vacation on me, and I struggle. There are things to be done!

And yet we encounter that classic injunction: “Be still. Know that I am God.”

It’s an odd line, appearing in a psalm as it does. Wrapped in quotes, the psalmist speaks for God. In the prophets, we would say this is God’s actual voiced verbiage. In the psalms, it may be something more like this: After our reflections, this is how God would respond.

So what had these particular psalmists, the sons of Korah, written? They had praised the almighty power of God. To bring judgment. To bring peace. To awaken the earth and to calm it. The strength of God was cast as this: a fortress. He is our place to run in time of trouble. He will protect us.

It is in the midst of the non-stop push of life that we come to the place of crashing. Busy, we are blindsided, caught unawares by the hurricane. Scheduled, we are piled over, each appointment, each little crisis, bearing the weight of one rock, until the accumulation buries us. What then? Where do we go?

Yes, we have waited too long, but in an hour like this we go to God. We shout our desperation at the door of the citadel, crying, “Lord, let me in, I need you.”

Inside his defense, beat down and injured, we finally hear his voice: “Be still [now], and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” It is in this moment that we finally listen, we finally see. God is great.

But we do not have to wait for such a moment. Life lived well anticipates the catastrophic with discipline and practice. Cancelled appointment? Bad golf weather? Awaiting the call for the next contract? An hour in the waiting room? Hush. Listen. See. Find God in the downtime, know him well there, and train your eyes to look for him on the days when he is far harder to see.

Jeff Hopper
September 15, 2015
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