08.25.15 – Elijah and the Zipper

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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

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17 thoughts on “08.25.15 – Elijah and the Zipper

  1. There are many times in life, in which we may struggle and think that we as Christians can get by on our own. However, the more we struggle the more it should become obvious to us that it is a losing battle without the help of God. He is always willing to reach an eager hand to those that fall and to those that stumble, if we would only just look to him and believe.

  2. Asking for help is hard. It makes us admit that we can’t fix our problems, and that we are unable to help ourselves. The thought of admitting defeat can make us angry and think that we can solve our problems on our own, and we decide that we don’t need help. What we forget is that God is always waiting, happily willing to help us with our problems if we will just ask.

  3. There are things in my life that I struggle with, like my thoughts and my actions. I always want to be the one to “fix” my own struggles, but really all I’m doing is making it worse. So while I was reading this passage I told myself “This is so true, I just need to let God fix my struggles and not me. ” Thank you Mr. Martin for reminding me that I need to be still and let God be in control!

  4. As humans, we naturally want to try and fix things by ourselves. We often want to refuse help from others, especially God, when what we really need to do is let God help us. He is always there to fix our problems and we often don’t see that. We need to be still and accept his help, because he is happy and willing to.

  5. As a human and especially as a male it is in my nature to try to fix every problem I face by myself. That just won’t always work. It seems like quicksand sometimes in that the more I struggle the deeper I sink. The only way to escape this trap is to have someone pull you out. Luckily we have a God who is always there for us if we’ll just reach out a hand.

  6. It’s really hard for me to let go and allow others to help. It’s in my nature to try to do things myself, but I’m realizing more and more that you can’t do that with your faith. You have to be still so you can reflect the heavens.

  7. I think sometimes we need to remember that God is in control and listen to him and let him tell us what to do. We might think we can fix everything and we have everything under control but we really need God because he knows what is best for us.

  8. I am a very stressful person. I am also a “do it yourself” type of person, so when I can’t do something by myself I tend to get stressed out and make a mountain out of a mole hill. It’s just hard sometimes for me to admit that I can’t do this by myself, and i know I’m not the only person who struggles with this. We see admitting that we can’t do something as weakness, but if we admit that we can’t do it and turn to God it makes us a stronger in our faith and just our everyday life.

  9. I am very guilty of this. I am quite an independent person and DO NOT want help. Sadly, this is pretty common in my spiritual life as well. Even if I remind myself to wholly rely on God, I still find myself struggling in the end and realizing I didn’t even follow my own advice. I definitely know that being still and just letting God do His job is the ONLY way to gain true satisfaction.

  10. I find myself very often seeking the Lord only when I need Him, and I too often expect an answer to my problems immediately. It takes so much self-discipline to stop the task at hand and let God work according to His own plan and be still during its workings. God’s plan is always what’s best for our lives and if we can be still long enough to listen to it, He will bless us continually.

  11. It is often tempting for us to think we can handle things on our own. We are stubborn in surrendering control of our lives and prefer to do our own thing. We should definitely be still and let God work in our lives because we will work things to our benefit.

  12. One thing that I really struggle with is wanting “immediate” help. Even though I know that God is working in my life, I can’t physically see it happening at the time so I take it upon myself to try and fix things on my own. This impatience just gets me into even more trouble, though. I really need to work on just being still and letting God do His thing because His help is the only thing that won’t ever fail me.

  13. Abby H says…

    Let go and let God? The simplest of words and the simplest of actions yet i find myself working overtime to avoid this exact thing. Even when I know that God knows my problems and is waiting to help, I place the issue on myself. I am a bit of a puzzle-solver and at the same time it’s mostly “my way or no way.” I tend to place it on myself to find “x” so to speak. But just like in algebra, I’m pretty bad at solving the problems that life throws at me. We must remember that even though we are working towards Heaven, the ultimate goal, we are running WITH Christ, the ultimate mathematician, awaiting our every call. He’s simply waiting on us to let go and let Him.
    (For someone so bad at math, I used quite a bit of mathematical references. Langley would be proud)

  14. I personally do what Elijah does. I think if i just do one or two things I will get back on track and everything will be better. I can never make things better because I am a sinner. However God says be still and know that he is God and I know He makes a way for me and fixes my crookedness.

    • I struggle with this daily. I know that it is easy to be caught up with everything that is going on during the day. I love this because it reminds us and gives us peace that if we just be still and know that he is God, that he will take care of everything.

  15. This is something I need to focus on more because I think that I can solve all of my problem by myself but really I do need help from God and as much as I wish I could fix everything by myself I can’t.

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