Elijah Brooks and the Zipper; Lessons for When Life Hits a Snag
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
In the familiar passage above, the people of God are commanded to simply “be still” and know that Jehovah God is the one true God. The Hebrew term for “be still” is “raphah.” It means to “stop working” or to “let drop.” Usually it carried a negative meaning. For instance, if a laborer had become slack in his duties and had dropped the ball on his daily tasks, that person was described as being “raphah.” But interestingly, in this particular passage of Scripture the term is used in a positive manner. Here we see that God’s people are commanded to “be still.” It means that for us to truly know God, we must cease toiling and striving and simply let go; we must let go of our own efforts and let go of our own strength. Then and only then will we be able to truly know and see the greatness of God.
I remember one time when the zipper on my son’s jacket was off track and stuck. Like a typical little boy, he squirmed and grunted as he yanked and pulled on the zipper in a feverish attempt to get it unstuck. Yet the zipper would not budge. For a while I did nothing as I watched his frustration mount. Finally I looked at him out of love and told him to stop. But he only continued to hold on tightly to the zipper. The more he pulled, the more he seemed to make matters worse. So I reached down and told him to let go, be still, and let me do it. He finally let loose and I was able to loosen the zipper.
And so it is with the difficulties of life. It is easy for us to hit a snag and get off track. And in our own feverish attempt, we try to fix the problem but only end up making things worse. We hold on to our problem thinking that we can fix it on our own, when all we really need to do is simply be still, let go of our problem, and let our Heavenly Father reach down and take hold of it. We must remember that our heavenly Father is always eager to fix our snags and help us get our life back on track. And He is the only one that can loosen our tangled life. Bottom line; we must be still, cease striving, and rest in simply knowing that He is God. “Letting go and letting God” might sound like a catchy cliché, but it is most certainly true.
One of my favorite daily devotionals is Lettie Burd Cowman’s “Streams in the Desert.” In describing the beauty of being still before God, she says a “lake must be calm if the heavens are to be reflected on its surface.” And so it is with the Christian life. The only way that we can truly know the Lord and reflect His presence in our life is to simply be still before Him.
But the question remains, how can one “be still” before God while riding the wheel of the world with all the life’s spokes circling around us? Once again Cowman’s “Streams in the Desert” sheds light on how this is possible; for “there is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center where there is no movement at all – And so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God in eternal stillness.” Yet this does not mean that to “be still” is to be stagnant. We must remember that at the parting of the Red Sea, God told to the Israelites to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” followed by a clear command to “go forward” (Exodus 14:13-15).
Ponder these things today and ask God to grant you stillness before Him. Oh that we as the children of God would cease striving and simply be still before our kind and loving Father!
– Pastor Eric