“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
There is so much noise.
So much noise in our world today.
So much noise in my own mind and heart and soul.
I long for peace.
Maybe you do too. Maybe you’re like me and just want to turn off the noise of racism and viruses and shouting voices of dissension and hate and destruction.
Our Creator summons us. He calls to us. Not in the loudness, not in the chaos, not in the fear that threatens to consume our world.
Our Creator whispers to us.
Can you hear Him?
Are you listening?
As I have journeyed into the historic Church, one of the things I find so glaringly is a lack of noise. The great saints of our tradition, great minds of Christian thought and the Church Fathers all seemed to have some things in common.
One thing I noticed that they all seem to have in common is quiet; a quiet heart and mind, kneeling before God our Maker to listen. There is a contemplative depth to their writings and prayers and liturgy and thought that we seem to lack today…even in the Church. As I’ve thought about why that is, I really think it’s a lack of stillness.
I wonder…are we afraid of stillness? Are we afraid of what we’ll find when we come before God and sit in silence and wait for His voice, His Word to us? What will we find?
There is so much that seems uncertain in our lives, our homes, our world. The world seems to be shifting on some spiritual and sociologically tectonic plates constantly. Nothing seems solid. Nothing seems certain.
In this time of uncertainty, God calls us to know. He tells us that there is a Rock in our ever-shifting world. There is a Cornerstone. Truth exists and it stands unbroken before and after all time.
“…that I am God.”
It seems like everything these days is up for grabs…including identity. We take our identity cues from what we see on TV, social media, the mass media, our friends. So-called gender fluidity and racism and all of it threatens to overwhelm us and we don’t even know who we are anymore. Don’t think for one instance that our great enemy, Satan, isn’t behind all of this. But, in the midst of all our identity crisis, we can know one thing for certain.
One thing that has never changed and will never change.
One thing that has stood before all time and will stand when time as we know it passes away.
He is and always was and always will be.
He is the great I AM.
He is YHWH, the unnamed One.
His identity has never changed. He remains unchanged. Oh, what comfort that brings me! I pray it brings you comfort as well!
I just want you to know that God is and always has been and always will be.
And He desperately loves you. He loves you so much that He was willing to become incarnate, to become His own creation so that He could remake you and me and us into a new creation.
One fit for a perfect relationship with Him for all time.
Did you hear me?
You who are tired and weary and trying to block out the noise…God loves you.
Be still before Him…His peace will come.
Know that there is Truth. That truth has a name. His name is Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of the Living God, begotten of the Father before all time; God from God, Light from Light.
He is God alone.
He is the One who has redeemed you.
He is the One who has come for you…because He loves you.
He is the One who is and was and always will be.
Rest in Him.
Do you hear Him?
I’m grieving right now.
I’m grieving for the world.
I’m grieving for the United States.
I’m grieving for the people of El Paso and Dayton and countless other cities where too many people have lost their lives because we, in America, are addicted to our guns and our violence. I’m also grieving for the first responders.
These brave men and women give so selflessly of themselves to serve their communities. They suffer more than most of you reading this post will ever know. Many of them suffer in silence. Many of them drown their suffering in alcohol or pills or sex or suicide or whatever they can find to dull the pain.
I know they do this. I know because I did it.
Here’s the thing. Humans weren’t made for this. We weren’t made to murder each other. We weren’t made to take lives, including our own, through violence or any other means. How do I know this? Because I am a Christian and I believe God’s Word.
In the beginning, God created. He created all things that existed and He created mankind. He created mankind in His own image, to model and show the world what He was like. And when He had created mankind, He said it was “very good.” If you’ve never read the story or have never really reflected on it or just want to read it again, I invite you to read Genesis 1-3.
But something went wrong.
We chose. Adam chose. Mankind chose to turn our backs on our good Creator and go it our own way. Our pride drove us to make a decision that has proven to be catastrophic for the world. We chose disobedience over obedience. We chose our own will over God’s will. We chose our own way over God’s way. And sin entered the world.
Now look where we are.
We murder and slander and scream and eradicate and destroy and crush our fellow man and the world that God has created that He called good. We flounder around searching for answers to our own problems and yet turn our eyes and hearts away from the very person that can and has and will answer every question that we have, every answer we seek.
Here’s the reality. There are no answers to our problems in America or in the world without the person of Jesus Christ.
Education can’t be the answer. We’ve tried that. We are the most educated and advanced society the world has ever known. Yet, murder and suicide and assaults and vitriol and racism have never been more rampant. We are so busy shouting at each other and accusing one another and pointing fingers that we cannot see the forest for the trees. If education could solve our problems, we would not see racism and all the other problems we see.
Tolerance can’t be the answer. We’ve tried that. Only our so-called tolerance isn’t really tolerance. We are only tolerant of those who are like us, who agree with us. And so our shouting and biting words tear us apart.
There are no answers to our problems apart from the person of Jesus Christ.
While we grieve (rightly so) and demand change (also rightly so), let’s also not forget that there is very real human collateral damage here. Children are dying. Teenagers are dying. Adults are dying. First responders and soldiers suffer within their own hearts and minds the fall out of having to deal with constant death and depravity.
There are no answers to our problems apart from the person of Jesus Christ. It is only in Him that we will find the peace with ourselves and one another that we so desperately need and crave. So while we have our debates about gun control, racism and many other things, let us hear again the words of our Saviour.
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
A Prayer for the Human Family (Book of Common Prayer):
O God, you made us in your own image, and you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!