“Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb
who elbow their way to the top.”
Psalm 37:7 MSG
So often when I stand before God, or the mystery of what I don’t yet know, piled up with my fears frustrations and life-stuff, I am searching in an almost crazed sort of desperation; for immediate clear answers, verses, a sudden divine arrival of ‘help from above.’ Although this indeed happens, it doesn’t happen often. And admittedly when it doesn’t, I sometimes get frustrated and despondent to the possibility of God being any sort of ‘use’ in my life.
As of late, when my heart is laid out before him as honestly as I know how, I haven’t been offered a response in the form of answers to the problems, nor some radical supernatural experience, but rather, a quiet calling, a gentle drawing on some other part of me to simply, re-position, rather than to solve. It has become a challenge of sorts; to leave the problems and anxieties momentarily untouched, while I take my shoes off and, have a rest in his sacred sanctuary. If I had it my way, I’d hold on tight until I had the certainty of being all clear of danger, and only then allow peace any sort of space. But, I guess we first have to trust him with something, to allow him to then breathe life into it, right?
I get a sense that if we were able to simply shift our gaze off the problems and onto who he is for a moment, we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised not only in that time and place but the times and places that follow. It’s like he’s calling us not to fix our eyes upon him so that we might gain answers, but to simply adjust our focus to him, and to there, experience a taste of his abundant peace – the divine sort that stands outside of the problematic constraints of time and place. It seems only there do we find the energy to move forwards amidst the hardest of times. The more we try to fix and solve, the more we seem to allow fear the power to tug and pull us low.
Beneath this verse I sense David being called to something similar; perhaps he was struggling with jealousy? A fear of people rising higher than he? Was he uncomfortable in his own shoes? Uncomfortable in the nature of his unfolding story? Did he feel inferior to people he ‘shouldn’t’ feel inferior to? I don’t know enough to be sure of the details, maybe neither did he. But I can assuredly relate to the struggle. Rather than coming in with some rushed fix-it affirmations, it would seem God just simply calls him to quieten down in the midst of what he’s currently experiencing – to test out trusting him.
I’ve never been the best at this quietening down thing, because I get afraid I won’t find him there. But somehow, I think that scary space (the one I tend to avoid because it’s one that is wild, unknown, and completely outside of my knowledge and control) – is the very one in which he is found. It’s a place that stands separate to our problems, anxieties and speculations of the future. Here we find God territory – divine territory, and I think that is where we are able to see a little more clearly who we are, and what really matters.
Why not sit back before your answer or affirmation arrives today? Perhaps you’ll in turn, find yourself free to fall into the arms of a God who never has and never will, leave your side. When we are able to draw back for a moment, from the clamour of all the concerns we face, perhaps it will become quiet enough, settled enough, to see the form of a solid, unwavering, entirely trustworthy God that has never, not even for a moment, stopped caring; a God of whom, rather than being absent from our problems, had merely been hidden amidst the kicked-up dust of our fear and frustration.
In our doing this, we might actually find we’ve also offered him the space and freedom to move in all the details of our lives in ways only a God could. Just as our fear needs space, time and attention to stay alive, so too does he need our attention to bring forth what is within his divine power to do.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30