Take Time to Be Still
My husband Parky and I love the outdoors. Between his scouting and my camping, we enjoy opportunities to “get back to nature.” Last year we sold our pop-up camper, but we agreed to rent cabins to mimic the camping experience. With spring fast approaching and weekend activities beginning to mount, I booked a cabin in Chewacla State Park near Auburn, Alabama for the last weekend in February.
The cabin was perfect and the weather was cooperative. A beautiful lake lay about a hundred yards from our picnic table. I sat on the porch the morning after our arrival soaking in the tranquility of our surroundings. My mind drifted into a prayerful state. I picked up my pen and began to record the silent conversation that ensued. Below is the intimate exchange between me and God. Maybe my experience will inspire you to take time to just be still and listen.
In the Stillness
I find that the majesty and glory of Your Name are often seen through the serenity and peace of Your creation. The exclusiveness of Your love and intimacy of Your character surrounds me with the chirping of birds in the trees, the constant lull of plunging water in the distance (waterfall), and the aroma of smoldered ashes and smoke in the walls of our cabin. I feel Your presence in the cool breeze reminding me of Elijah’s experience during a time of seclusion.
Go out and stand before me on the mountain, the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. (I Kings 19:11-12)
There is movement in the solitude. It is soft and subtle. You are here. The water in the lake cannot be still. The ripples are ever fresh. I hear the rustling of leaves. Perhaps it is from a squirrel foraging for food or a deer passing by. One lone tree sways amid many trees. Is that You, Lord? Not only do I sense your presence, but I hear Your voice. It is no different than listening to the preacher when the organ stops, the choir has sung, and the congregation stills. Your voice is easily heard in the quiet. The song of Psalm 46 says to “be still, and know that I am God!” Surely those words came from a moment like this.
Tiny drops of rain fall to the earth as it welcomes the refreshment. “Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants” (Deuteronomy 32:1-2). Small birds gather to drink in its purity and bathe their feet. They hop around pecking the ground for creeping things that have surfaced from the passing shower. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds then. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:26).
Your voice is like a whisper for my eager ears. I tune in and lift my eyes towards the hills across the lake. “I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:1-2).
You say to me, “Hear me, see, feel me, know me. Seek me while you are devoid of distractions. I am here and you need me. Like the rain to the hard ground, soak in my abiding grace, my enabling presence, and my available power.” I do need You, Lord. I always need you. Like David wrote in Psalm 41:17 “As for me, I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior, O my God, do not delay.”
Looking down at the legs of my wooden chair, I notice a trail of ants walking across the rock floor. They follow each other in single file as if on a mission. I wonder how and why the Lord gave ants order and leadership abilities. We all know about their uncanny ability to carry ten to fifty times their body weight but why the long marching trail? “There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants – they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer” (Proverbs 30:24-25).
Thank you for our time, Lord, a chance to be still, refreshed, and restored.