Be still and know
Isn’t it weird how in tune your ears are to the environment? I mean, walk into an empty apartment or house and you immediately feel the emptiness because every little noise of speech and action bounces and collides with itself. Fill that same space with your “stuff” and those same noises become personal sounds of comfort. Why? Because the space can now absorb and control the sound waves, quieting and mellowing that which enters your ear.
Several months back, in the tranquility of the early morning, as I walked down my driveway with a southerly breeze in my face, I heard a loud hissing noise, which I perceived to be a leak from a rather large hose of compressed air. I stood still thinking, “That can’t be right,” and started to listen even closer, trying to identify this odd new sound. It took a few minutes of quiet concentration to determine that the noise was coming from our newfound heavy traffic flow on the state highway about a mile away. The local oil boom is as welcome as rain, but both can be noisy at times.
A young fellow was proudly showing off his new apartment to a couple of friends late one night. “What’s with the big brass gong?” one of the friends asked. “It’s not a gong. It’s a talking clock,” the fellow replied. “A talking clock? Seriously?” asked his astonished friend. “Yup,” replied the fellow. “How’s it work?” asked the other friend. “Watch.” The fellow picked up the mallet, gave the gong an ear-shattering pound, and stepped back. The three men stood gazing at one another. Suddenly, someone on the other side of the bedroom wall screamed, “You idiot! It’s 1:15 in the morning!”
(As I read this story I had a few flashbacks, for as a teen I worked for a furniture retailer who used an old icehouse for a warehouse. With 16-inch thick walls and a very high roofline, with the door closed there was no intrusion from the outside. Every sound inside was unmistakable and clear as a bell.) Back in the days before refrigerators, people used icehouses to preserve certain foods. Icehouses had thick walls and a tightly fitted door. In winter when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the icehouses, and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer months. A worker lost a valuable watch in one such icehouse. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but couldn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy, who heard about the fruitless search, slipped into the icehouse during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. “I closed the door,” the boy replied, “laid down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I could hear the watch ticking and the sound led me to its hiding place.”
[Psalm 46] Too many times the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough to hear. I believe there are many times when God is giving us plenty of answers, but we’re missing them. We are so busy hearing our own voice, making a racket, and thrashing around that all we hear is empty noise. Sometimes we simply need to stop ... be still ... and wait quietly. When the day has been long and challenging, when you are frustrated and hurt and feeling anguished, how do you find the answers? Jesus says we need to close the door on the world and talk to our Father. He already knows what you are in need of and He will answer you if you will quietly show Him your love and thanksgiving. (Matthew 6:6-8) Be still, and know He is God.
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. His email is email@example.com. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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