We’re going 70 mph on the highway, willing our van to fly faster, ready to get to our destination. We are ready to be done with the journey, ready to be free from this box on wheels.
The hum of rubber on concrete envelops us in sound. The wind rushes past each window, whirling noisily. Music flies out loudly from the speakers. Loud enough to be heard above the din. Everywhere, movement. A cacophony of sound.
I think I hear a voice speaking: a small, delicate voice. My daughter. Hands firmly grasping the wheel, foot on the pedal, I glance quickly back to see she’s trying to tell me something. But her voice is so soft, so gentle, I can’t hear a word.
This daughter of mine who can squeal and scream and laugh and yell so that neighbors blocks away can hear, in this moment, chooses softness.
“WHAT?!?” I yell back. “I can’t hear you! Speak up!” I hear nothing.
Turning off the music, I try again: “What’re you trying to say?” Still I only hear the road noise, the wind, the tires on road.
“Okay, I still can’t hear you. Tell me when we slow down.” She’s still trying, but to no avail. There’s no place to stop anywhere. Just us, the road, and other cars on their swift journeys.
She’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. I just want to be done with this trip, to arrive so we can be still.
What happens when life gets going too fast? We think we’re doing something worthwhile, filling up our every moment with plans. But the plans turn to noise. And the noise becomes deafening. We lose our ability to hear.
“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, ‘I can’t help it. I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.’” (Jeremiah 2:25, MSG)
What are we after anyway?
We say we’re after the Lord’s will, His plan and purpose for our lives. But how can we see the plan when we’re gripping the wheel, eyes on the road unyielding? How can we hear Him speaking to us, guiding us, when the sound of speed overwhelms?
Be still? How can we do that? How can we be that? What does it mean to be still enough to remember that God is God?
It’s a stillness that comes from trust—trust that God has this handled. This stillness comes only because we’ve decided that this journey, itself, is the destination. The stillness creeps into moments where we pull our speeding box on wheels over and find a place to rest, to stretch, to find refreshment. The stillness cannot be rushed if we want to truly remember God is God.
Because if I hurry off, rushing to return to the loud, speeding roadway, I will be saying in actuality that I am god. I’m in charge. It’s on me to get us to our destination. Me.
Here we glorify busyness. Here we uphold our harried schedules on pedestals and call those with plans most packed, “Productive. Efficient. Important.” When in truth, those defined by “busy” are the ones most blind, most deaf, most untrusting of God’s hand on their lives.
Yes, seasons come that are full of things to do, accomplishments to make, people to see. But has a season become the everyday for you?
During this time of the year especially, with presents to buy and prepare and give, with lists to make and follow, with parties to attend and dates to arrange, with family dynamics to face, with deadlines to meet … can we also be still? Can we be intentional to slow down?
Can we dare to look around on our journey? To listen intently for God’s voice to speak?
“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12, ESV)
He’s speaking. Will we listen?
We’re coming now to a small town, population 317. The speed limit drops, graduating down to 25 mph through main street. I look around to see quaint storefronts line our path. The wind is a light breeze now. I can even roll down my window and feel its easy movement through my fingertips. I hear the small creaks of rubber on the concrete. The hum is gone.
A red light is just ahead. My foot presses the brake down. Our box on wheels stops. Looking back, I see my daughter. “Now, honey, what would you like to say?”
She smiles wide. And opens her mouth. And my open ears can now hear her heart.
Can you take a few moments today and find a still place? Quiet your thoughts. Turn off your phone. Take a deep breath and ask God, “Lord, what would You like to say? What’s on Your heart for me today?” Be still and remember that He is God. You aren’t. You don’t have to be. Because He is. Be still.