Be still, and know that I am God

“Be still, and know that I am God”
-Psalm 46:10

My relationship with God, much like my relationship with most people, tends to resemble a ribbon of DNA.

We don’t so much walk beside each other as I find I am always moving closer to or farther away from Him.  The rare times when our paths are so close we actually intertwine seem to occur when I am at my lowest point.

When I throw up my hands in despair.

When I’m standing in a backyard after days of rain have made puddles in my house, screaming at the thunder clouds above me that, “I was so stupid to believe in You!  You made a fool of me!”

When even the promise of prayer and peace brings confusion and fear instead of hope.

It’s always just after my darkest hour that I find myself feeling the closest to God.  I think, maybe, that’s because I am mostly likely to reach for God when I need something.  Much like the child who calls for you in the night when a fever wakes them, and then insists you drop them off three blocks away from the bus stop once they’ve recovered.

I’ve found myself missing that closeness lately.  Partly, I suppose, because I know my family is bracing for news – good or bad, we don’t know.  And partly, too, because I’m desperate to cling to the little piles of good I’ve managed to build in the last several months.  But mostly, I think, because that’s what I was created for – a closeness to The Place I Come From.

And so, I’m trying to pray.

Trying being the operative word.

Come to find out, I suck at prayer.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can recite a dozen or so prayers taught to me by a Catholic priest.  But real prayer, honest prayer, seems to be eluding me.  I find myself having conversations with myself in the dark as I drive to the gym before dawn each morning.

“So… um… God.  I… um…”

I turn down the radio, thinking maybe that will help with my concentration or communing or something.

“…I’m.. uh… here I am.”

I wait.  I listen.  The light turns green and I’m grateful to have something to do again.

Be still, and know that I am God.

Over and over again in my I hear these words.

“OK, OK,” I answer.  “I’m being still.”

….

“You know, maybe I’ll try to focus on what I’m grateful for.  Give You thanks and stuff instead of constantly asking for something.”

I begin to mentally list off all the things I appreciate.  JaredJared.  The kids.  The ability to get up and go to the gym.  The dark, because it seems like the dark would be the kind of simple thing one should be grateful for.

“You know, I really hope I don’t get cancer before I’m finally able to quit smoking.  Can I be grateful for not having cancer so far?”

Be still, and know that I am God.

I know this sounds strange – unless you’ve been in the same room with me at some point – but I kind of get the feeling God is trying to very nicely tell me to shut up.

And I’m trying.  I am.  But I don’t do still well.  I get bored going to the bathroom.  Half the reason I still smoke is so that I have something to do when I need to think.  Every time I try to be still, my mind just moves ten times faster to make up for my physical stillness.  Which normally is just fine because there are a lot of things I can do and say all inside my own head, but it’s really hard to hear with all that constant internal noise.

I want very much to hear.

Be still, and know that I am God.

While looking up what verse those words came from to write this post – because, yes, I am exactly that awesome of a Christian, thanks – I stumbled across this article suggestion that a more accurate translation of the Hebrew term raphah – the term I am apparently translating as “be still” – might be “be weak”.

Be weak, and know that I am God.

I’m kind of tempted to run with that idea.  Weak I can do.  Weak I can do fabulously.  I excel at weak!  I am so weak that I am weak in flesh and in spirit, baby!

But I kind of think that may just be me dodging the uncomfortable.  Which would make sense because of me being weak and all. Ahem. ANYway.

Still.

Be still.

Be still, and know that I am God.

I’m trying.  I’m really, really trying.  But I don’t seem to have the faintest idea how to actually do it.

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