America is changing. When the world moves at lightning speed, it’s more important than ever to be still and find God in the silence.
It’s been a busy week in America
Change happens slowly. Except when it doesn’t. Last week was one of those weeks when everything seemed to happen at once:
- In the wake of the Charleston shooting, legislatures appear poised to act on calls to remove the Confederate flag from state capitols and public spaces throughout the South.
- The Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality overturned same-sex marriage bans and opened the door for same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
- The court ruled that the federal government can legally subsidize health insurance, cementing Obamacare as a permanent part of the American landscape.
For some of us, these developments are a cause for celebration; for others, not so much. But no matter where you fall, we can all agree that when change happens — even good change — staying centered can be tricky.
Be still and know
Finding God isn’t as easy as some people make it out to be. Just ask Elijah.
In 1 Kings 19, we see Elijah on a mountain, looking for God. A gale force wind blew against the mountain, but God wasn’t in the wind. The wind was followed by an earthquake and then a fire. But God wasn’t in those either.
Finally, a deep silence engulfed the mountain. And that’s where God was. In the silence.
When big, dramatic changes happen (in the world around us or our personal lives), it’s tempting to look for God in the midst of either the celebration or the dirge. But too often, we confuse the spectacle of the whirlwind or the flash of the flames with God’s presence.
By learning how to be still, we create opportunities for several critical things to occur:
- We gain perspective. Emotions (positive and negative) are super-sized in the midst of change. In stillness, we begin to see change in context. We gain perspective about its importance in our lives and in the lives of others.
- We grow. Sometimes the change that’s really needed is a change in us. But personal growth doesn’t happen in the chaos of current events — it happens when we decide to be still and engage in silent contemplation, allowing God to change our hearts and expand our understanding about other points of view.
- We find solid ground. Although change is good, constant change is unsustainable. Human beings need a certain amount of stability in our lives. A home base, a new normal, a solid foundation — you can call it whatever you want. But when we choose to be still with God, we discover the footing we need to take the next steps in our journey with God and each other.
Change is inevitable. But when it happens, be still and listen to God in the silence. You might be surprised by what you hear.