The forest was dark, the kind of darkness that grips the soul as strongly as it veils the eyes. Even if she could see anything at all, nothing would look familiar. As she cautiously toed the path that she thought would lead to the safety of her tree stand, ominous noises called out from the predawn darkness.
A howl erupted seemingly 10 feet in front of her, and she froze in her tracks, remembering the ranger’s words: the wolf population is on the rise.
At this point, her nerve was completely gone, so she did what any sensible woman would do: she called her husband.
The panic in her voice was difficult to hide. “Where are you?!” he asked. “I…don’t know,” she whispered.
“Stop,” he said.
Stop? How is stopping going to help me get to safety? Why can’t he just tell me which direction to walk?
“The worst thing you could do right now is keep walking farther away. Stop. The sun will rise soon. Wait for the light.”
When my friend told me this little story over coffee, I too was stopped dead in my tracks.
A few weeks earlier, I had been wrapping up the year of LIGHT, and considering the mercy in the obscurity, the strength in the weakness, and the joy in the suffering. I meant every word I wrote. But oh, was I weary!
I had reached the end of my 3 month prescribed course of antibiotics and seen little improvement accompanied by nasty side-effects. My doctors were starting to give up on me, nitpicking at my life as if there was some underlying psychological reason that I would feign illness. Everyone close to me was at wits’ end trying to fix this problem that we couldn’t seem to grasp ahold of.
But still He was there.
And at the most unlikely of times, God gave me the most ironic of words: still.
“No,” I told Him brusquely. “Not that word. Any other word. How about heal? joy? mercy? strength? Even journey would be better, because at least I’d be moving.”
“No, beloved, your word is still. Trust me.”
It was all wrong. I kept asking Him to change His mind, and He continue to tell me “still.” Then I finally aligned my perspective to His truth, and saw that He had been leading me here all along. It started with Psalm 37:7
Then Ellie Holcomb’s song Red Sea Road directed me to Exodus 14:14:
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
And I realized that He had, in fact, been pointing me to this word since September, when I ended my first post from this valley with Hillary Scott’s song “Still.”
I cracked the door of my heart to receive this one little word, and He rushed in with a mighty gust of truth.
When you’re in a dark forest, the worst thing you can do is take off running
Like my friend in the literal dark forest, I had no map and could not see where I was going. Voices called out from every direction:
You have to see this doctor, he is the leader in Lyme research and your only hope for finding a cure.
Don’t stop taking the antibiotics, the bacteria will consume you!
You have to try something. Let’s just throw different antibiotics at it and see what helps. Are you afraid of shots or having a PICC line?
Go to Mayo! They are the best in the world. Do you even want to get better?
Hurry! The longer you wait, the worse your chances. Do something, and quick!
Be still, beloved, or you’re going to run head-on into a tree.
And at the risk of appearing as a fool to the world, I chose to listen to that still, small voice that made no sense at all.
In the obscurity of darkness, the unseen becomes just as visible as the seen.
Because I trust Him, I follow Him. I stopped taking the antibiotics. I stopped chasing experts. And I knelt down on the forest floor and worshipped Him in the dark for the healing that had not yet come.
We can’t perceive movement unless we are still
It’s time for a brief Physics lesson (humor me, I spent 4 years of my life studying this, and I promise it will make you feel smarter!). You may have heard of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, you know E=mc2.
Maybe I’ll write another post on that (kidding), but for right now, let’s just focus on the fundamental principle of the Theory: reference frames.
Imagine you are riding on a train, looking out the window. As you see the countryside whirring by, you naturally know that the countryside is not moving, you are. So the speed at which the objects appear to be moving past your window is actually the speed of your frame of reference. With me so far?
Now imagine there are parallel tracks, and another train passes by in the opposite direction. The speed at which it appears to pass will be the speed of your train plus the speed of that train. You probably won’t even be able to discern any shapes because it appears to be moving so fast!
Now imagine the train on the track next to you is moving the same direction as you, at exactly the same speed, and all you can see out the window is that other train. What speed does it appear to be moving?
It is standing still. This is the theory of relative motion: The motion of any object depends on the motion of the observer.
Do you see? If we continue in our state of perpetual motion, always moving, never stopping, we lose the ability to discern movement.
And eventually it will start to look like God is not moving at all. We have to be still to see Him move. It’s simple physics.
So the more I stay still, the more I see Him moving all around me.
And even if not, Still He is GOOD.
“Still” had one more lesson for me, and it had nothing to do with relative motion. I won’t bore you with physics, but allow me to provide a few relevant definitions:
- Still (adverb) – “in the future as in the past”
- Still (adverb) – “
There is a story of three men in the Old Testament, who were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship the statue of a Babylonian king. They knew God was able to rescue them from certain death, but they took it one step further:
“Even if not, still He is good.”
Even if not, He is good in the future as in the past
Even if not, even then He is good.
Even if not, nevertheless He is good.
Of course, the men were rescued. But their statement of faith was perhaps even more miraculous than the physical salvation.
I too, have been rescued from my affliction. But first I had to reach a point to say “Even if not, still You are good.”
Because God knew that just before He gave the healing, I was going to have to face my own fiery furnace, far hotter than anything I had experienced in the past.
Still You are good.
He was going to make sure I meant it.
Continued in Hungry for Healing