Saturday, October 18, 2008

Be Still

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching my little niece who is just over a year old. She is a very small, bright-eyed, and energetic child. Her little body can crawl across the floor faster than I can chase her, and now that she is walking, her speed is increasing all the more. Her name is Tillie. She cracks herself up most of the time, and has a continuous giggle that is contagious and precious.

However, Tillie is a spry bundle of energy and strength. If I had to forecast a gymnast from early babyhood based off of vigor, she would be in the running.

So you can imagine what bath time is like. It's full of splashing fun and lots of laughter. After the bath, there is another step: putting on her pajamas. No problem.

Well, as I did this, I discovered that there was a problem. Tillie does not sit still. She is constantly moving. As I maneuvered her arms and legs through the pajamas, she would squirm and twist and reach for anything to crawl away from the process. It was extremely frustrating and I marveled at her young strength. She was just completely resisting me in every way possible. I had to keep a constant firm hand on her. At one point I looked at her and said, "Tillie, be still." She looked at me for a second and laid motionless, only to squirm away in the next second. My point in all of this being, the process was very difficult because she was moving around and rebelling against what it was I was trying to do.

And that's when it struck me.

So often, we as children of God are so much the same. The Lord has a task that He wants to carry out in us. But we are so distracted. We look every which way, we squirm, we move around, we are out of focus, we rebel, we see a better alternative, we try to do things in our own strength. All the while, the Lord has His hand on us, and every once in awhile, we feel His firm hold. That's when He says, "Child, be still." Do we hear him? Do we listen? Do we obey?

I eventually got the pajamas on Tillie. But it wasn't easy. It could have happened a lot more efficiently and effectively had she cooperated.

Are we cooperating with God? Are we continuing to look at Him for our answers and then obeying Him when He speaks? It's the goal. And we aren't always going to be 100% perfect with it, but in the end, we will be used so much more effectively for the kingdom of God if we just obey. If we just "be still" and listen. If our hearts are right, He will eventually fulfill the work in us that He has set out to do... but oh, how much more beneficial it can be when we just let Him work without restraint. Don't push away. Don't squirm. Don't resist. Just be still.

Tonight I went to the AC nursing home in Morton to sing praises with the young to the old, and with the old. Words cannot describe the renewed perspective that it gave to me. As I looked out into the room at the beautiful faces of the elderly, it brought an instant joy and smile to my face. I love them, and they exude wisdom by just sitting there.

One lady in the front row had on every shade of green possible from head to toe. Her shirt had colorful buttons all down the front. I love that. She sang with joy.

A man in the middle sat, and I watched him during one of the songs. Ever so softly, he clapped his hands to the rhythm of the hymn as we sang. He was feeling the music. I had to look down, then. It brought tears to my eyes.

Another late-arriver sat himself in the front row and grabbed a hymn book. He was dressed in a plaid shirt and had gray crocs on his feet. As we finished up one song, he said, "Well why don't we sing 'The Solid Rock' already," he suggested.

"Good idea," I heard a voice behind me say.

It was. At one point we sang "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder I'll Be There." I paid special attention to the words because I saw excitement on everyone's faces. Suddenly I decided that I was ready. I'll share the last verse:
"Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there."

I wanted to be there. At 22, I wanted to be there now. Then it hit me, as I looked across at the sea of aged faces, that they do, too. They want to be there so badly. Look how many years more they have lived than I. How many seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years of wisdom they had accumulated far surpasses my measly 22 years. Yet we all have the same goal in mind, and it made me excited to think that someday, we will all be there together.

After the singing, I talked to a man who I had been watching during the singing. He word a plaid shirt, hat, and glasses, and sat somewhere in the middle. I wanted to meet him. He was very friendly and asked me about school. So I told him I had been done for a year and filled him in on my life's happenings. He offered me wonderful advice and was a true encouragement to my current endeavors.

It seems as though my posts lately have focused a lot on the very, very young, and the old and the wise. There is much to learn from both.

Love you all!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have much to learn from the elderly. If only we were old before we were young. :)

Even though you told me this in person, it takes on a whole new depth and emotion reading it now. Sometimes I forget just how talented you are (fragmented Skype conversation don't do you justice)!!

Keep writing -Hetty is still waiting for her debut!