Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#6 Chill Days--Still Days. Snow Days-- Know Days

     In north and east Texas we are preparing for another winter blast tomorrow, the second in a week. Weather forecasters say we are in for a layer of ice first and then snow on top of it, and it may not melt enough to accommodate our commutes to school and work onThursday morning. Our school children may actually have another snow day --unusual for East Texans.
     In general, we are not as prepared for winter weather as our northern neighbors because we don't have snow plows or snow tires. We are also short on snow-savvy drivers. Without salting, the ice on the roads doesn't melt, and the cars just slide around like giant bumper cars under the influence of hands unaccustomed to driving on ice. So, most people stay home.
     If the schools close, then so do some of the businesses and government offices. Last week I was excused from jury duty because of the snow, and my dad didn't get to have his eye exam because it was canceled due to weather. Some of my friends and patients are complaining about the inconvenience of it all, but perhaps these cold cloudy days with rolling blackouts do more for us than we realize.
    What a great opportunity to stay in with our families, have some uninterrupted time together, and invest in our relationships! Even the rolling blackouts were not so bad when we were able to heat some water for instant cocoa, light some candles, and snuggle up under a blanket on the couch. The silent television and dark computer screens were powerless to disturb the peace of the day, but we still had battery-powered phones if we needed them. It was actually comforting to know we didn't have to dress up to be somewhere by a certain deadline. We were fairly insulated from the intrusions of the outside world.
      But what if you are alone during the bad weather, sequestered from family and friends? You have a chance to be still and have some communion with our Lord. How often are we allowed that option in our overly scheduled days? Do we ever turn everything off and schedule nothing on our calendars on purpose to be able to spend time with God? Yet, He actually tells us to be still:

 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

     Personally, I am glad that God occasionally supplies opportunities for us to be still with Him. Sometimes we are stopped by weather; other times it may be an illness or a change in circumstances. For Jonah, that circumstance was three days in the belly of a big fish. For me, it was when I have had episodes of pericarditis. I was forced to be still to get well, both physically and spiritually. But, we know it when it happens. We are no longer in control, and we can either grouse about it or lean back and go with the flow. First comes the being still; then--if we choose to listen-- the knowing. We have to be still enough to realize that He is God and we are not. Rest. Be still. Listen.
     For a few hours our fast-paced world  has to slow or shut down  and wait on the weather to cooperate with our demands for fast travel and instant access to everything. Savor the interruption, seize the moments, and stay warm. Take a few moments to listen and enjoy this link to Steven Curtis Chapman's  song, "Be Still and Know":

      Now, don't run off just yet. Be still, and allow yourself to watch a different version of the same song. It gives God a chance to get through to you if  the first listen didn't do it. Let His message soak into you, and praise Him for His faithfulness in pursuing you. He wants us to know Him and tells us how to do it.
     Thank you, Lord, for snow days, for the brilliance of sunlight on fresh snow, for the peace and comfort of a warm home, and for the time to be still and hear Your voice and know that You are God.

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