Being Still by Sheila Jacobs
Recently, I was spending some time with the Lord and I saw ‘a picture’. Sometimes God does speak to us in dreams, visions and ‘pictures’, and so I took notice of what I was ‘seeing’.
I saw a pretty cottage at first. But then I noticed that someone had built a bus shelter in front of it, partially obscuring my view! Then a great big double-decker bus came along, and I could hardly see the cottage at all. I realised there was a main road in front of the cottage, with lots of traffic, and lots of people – and what was this? A train track running beside the garden! The noise was too much.
But then a strange thing happened. I found myself standing in the cottage garden, and all I could hear was a blackbird singing. All the rush and bustle was still happening outside the garden, but I was somehow in the eye of the storm, in complete peace.
I think it is often like this in our relationship with Jesus. Sometimes his peace is obscured by all the ‘stuff’ that surrounds us; our anxieties, hopes, dreams, disappointments. We need to get alone for a while with Jesus; he says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28, NIV). He added that if we come to him, we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29).
Resting in God is integral to the Christian life. If we are followers of Jesus, we must stop ‘doing’ and let him ‘do’ from the outset. What do I mean by that? Well, how do we come into relationship with God? We certainly can’t make ourselves righteous. We can never hope to be good enough to be accepted by a holy, perfect God. But Jesus himself is ‘our righteousness, holiness and redemption’ (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV). When he died on the cross, he took the punishment for what we are; not just in our words or actions, but our very natures. It’s the start of a whole new life, resting our hope of salvation on Jesus.
When we begin to follow him, we need to learn to lean back on him for his power to move us in the right direction. If you know someone who has difficulty getting upstairs, a stair lift will get them to the top in no time. They move, but under the power of something else. Or in our case, someone else. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will empower us to live God’s way. We don’t do good works to get ‘right’ with him, as we read in Ephesians 2:8-10: ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (NIV).
We’re disciples, learners. And as we follow him, he may just ask us to lay something (or someone) down that isn’t a part of his perfect plan for us. If we want to remain in that place of rest and peace, which is his presence, we will be challenged to obey him. If we choose not to, to go our own way, to disobey him, we may find ourselves not only outside of his will, but also in conflict and perhaps ultimately in chaos.
It can be tough to follow Jesus, especially when we want what we want, and we want it now! But he will never lead us wrong. A beautiful road might lead to a sheer drop, whereas a rocky path might end in a beautiful beach. He sees the future, so let’s trust him. And as you can only trust someone you know, our priority should be getting to know Jesus.
As we do, we will be able to discover our true identity in him. We need to let go of bitterness, unforgiveness, which stop us moving forward, and negative words and thoughts that do not line up with what the Word of God says about us. Jesus is the Lamb who was slain, for you. He is the first and the last, the Living One, who was dead and is alive for ever (see Revelation 1:17-18).* And he died for you. Something is only worth as much as someone will pay for it. If the Son of God died for you, then that makes you of infinite worth.
Find time to be quiet with God this spring; spend time with him; listen to what he will tell you about who he is, who you are, what he thinks about you, how much he loves you, and about his plans for your life.
If you can, go for a walk, sit in a park or a garden, or open a window and listen to the birds for a little while. Be still, and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10). It might be that God will bring a special person into your life this summer. But put him first, be faithful where you are, and take time to listen to your God.
*Maybe listen to ‘Revelation Song’ by Jesus Culture on the internet, if you have time!
Sheila Jacobs © 2017
Sheila Jacobs is a writer, editor, and award-winning author. Single, she is currently serving as a deacon in her church, Elim Braintree. She loves the countryside, dogs, traction engines, and time spent with friends.