Are we there yet? Be still, and Know that I Am God!
Have you ever gone through times in which you wondered how long you could last? Maybe it was as simple as who could hold their breath the longest or stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth. Or maybe you went on a long hike where you wondered how much farther you had to go to the end. “Are we there yet?” Maybe you have been in car rides or trips with children asking that question or you asked it yourself. Occasionally things go faster and easier than expected but those seem to be quickly forgotten.
Perhaps it was even longer and you took it day by day, looking forward to when it would be over. Our son and daughter-in-law are in the midst of potty training their son. As you can imagine, there are moments of success and messes. There is a lot of learning and adjusting while it is still ongoing. Maybe you moved to a new place, job or school, took on a remodeling or gardening project, experienced a time of healing or grieving a deep loss. Sometimes we enter into circumstances that seem simple and are unexpectedly complicated. There were many more moving parts than we could have been aware of. By the end of it, we look back with wonder at the time and energy that it took to get through it. We may later look back at it ever remembering the trauma. For some, as time passes, we may forget and diminish how challenging it was. Some say, “time heals all wounds”. Others say, “time won’t make you forget, it will make you grow and understand things.”
We are in a collective time of enduring - waiting and wondering, hoping and expecting and not expecting. Are we there yet?! Not soon enough.
Our theme at Annual Conference Session this year was from Psalm 46 10 “Be still, and know that I am God!” (The United Methodist Church is divided into geographical sections known as Annual Conferences. We are in the Northern California – Nevada Annual Conference. The yearly business meeting, Annual Conference Session, gathers clergy and laity representing churches and ministries. Our lay members are Nico Singh and Marilyn Zakareckis. This year it was held in September online. It is a year of many firsts.)
This verse is God speaking to God’s people during a time of being attacked by stronger neighboring countries. King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 19-20 set his heart to seek God and was imperfect in his leadership. And God used him. At Annual Conference, clergy are regularly reminded to reflect on their ministry and life before God. In response, we know that we fall short while striving to be perfected in love. This is a balance that we all seek before our God. God’s perfecting love is making us holy even as we still fall short.
Psalm 46 begins with this reminder of who God is. 1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
We are in a time of shaking and trouble. Stop. Remember. Take a deep breath and know our God. Lance and I went to Redwood National Park on our vacation. In the midst of the grandness of nature, we are so small and it is easier to trust our God is mighty enough to handle all this.
I like these words from the Serenity Prayer:
Grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.
With God’s help, sort through the things of your life into what you can and cannot change. What is God calling you to do and not do? What leads you closer to God or pulls you away, hiding from God? Trust all this and yourself to God’s guidance and leading. Do not be afraid. God is with us and is our sanctuary even now.
Yes, Lord, you are our shelter.