Be Still, My Soul

DSC_1790“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.” – Hymn, by Jean Sibelius

This is a season of stillness

A global pandemic

Spring “break” from work

And the holiest week in the Christian calendar

The week we remember

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross

And his defeat of death


Yesterday my family gathered

In pajamas on the couch

For “church”

We took communion together

As the pastor broke bread on the screen

A holy moment

Reminding me the church is not, after all

A building


So how to spend this time

We’ve unexpectedly been given

Cleaning, baking, eating, binging Netflix

All ways of keeping “busy”

Remembering that today

I would have been taking Abby and her friends

To Knoxville to ice skate

But the Lord had other plans

And his plans are always better


Even when it doesn’t feel like they are.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”  Jeremiah 29:11


I have been busy

Running from sadness

For weeks

Maybe for a lot longer

We are told in Scripture to “be joyful always”

But does that make it a sin to be sad?

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  James 4:8-10



God is also in the sad

In disappointment and grief

My heart runs to him

As a crying child to her Abba


“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  2 Corinthians 7:10

So what is the cause of this sorrow?

If fear and a lack of faith in the goodness of God


If an utter lack of control


If grief over loss

Cry out to God

From past experience I know

He does not necessarily give answers

He reminds me the answer

Is Him


Like in prayer when I think…

Oh how arrogant I can be

I am changing the mind of God

But he is actually

Changing me


I was reminded this week

Through a timely message

Sent by a friend

Of the power of lament

I have spent so much energy on anesthesia

Audio books and music

Anything to block out my need

Better to numb the pain than to feel it

But that is only living a half life

When you cannot experience sorrow

You cannot experience joy


My name after all is Joy

And who wants to spend time with Eeyore

When they can spend time with Tigger?

Except perhaps someone else who feels a little more like Eeyore too

But I’m not around other people now

Maybe today is a season of mourning

My soul needs

Even if my heart is too easily satisfied

With other things


I have always loved Tenebrae

The service of darkness

Reflecting on the last words of Jesus

That first Good Friday that in that moment

Felt anything but good

For how can you really appreciate the joy of Easter Sunday

Without first reflecting on the incredible cost

And sorrow of the cross?

Like reading the last page of a book

Without reading the rest of it first

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5


So this week

I will bake cookies with my daughter

Make thankfulness lists

And probably watch some Netflix

But I want to spend some time every morning

With the Lord in prayer


Writing poems and singing songs,

Making music

Experiencing the tension of living in a fallen world

Because the dissonance is what makes the resolved chord



Listening to his still, small voice.

There is a time for laughter

And a time for reflecting

Repenting of sin

And surrendering to his purposes

“Be still my soul

The Lord is on thy side”

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
      a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
      a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak… Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4-7


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