Many times throughout life, we are called to be still. This call is prevalent throughout the Bible. A very well-known verse, Psalm 46:10, says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I have found this instruction to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding of the biblical calls; I usually prefer issues to be solved immediately. I find it frustrating and painful to be still, as I would rather not suffer so long. Suffering is overwhelming; prolonged grief, is, at times, almost unbearable. But often, God calls us to inaction during the dark periods. Being still does not imply we stop our daily routine, rather we give our burdens to the Lord, allowing Him to navigate.
During a very stressful time in my life, the Lord impressed a message on my heart. He gave me an image of the two of us on a plane together. Even if you know me, you may not be aware that I did not like to fly. However, my job insists that I fly for 17-36 hours at a time—and often! During this time in my life, I felt so wasted by the stress and filled with such anxiety, the thought of allowing someone else to steer a plane that I must sit on was beyond overwhelming to me.
I became very acquainted with the people next to me on a flight. I had a coping system in place. I would apologize before take-off—letting the person next to me know that certainly during the flight, he or she would be holding my hand (and it may hurt!). I had chest pains; I could not breathe; I could not speak. The terror of that time was overwhelming—indeed, an example of my larger world.
When I received this message from God, I had to laugh—of course He chose an airplane! He has a sense of humor! God revealed this mental image of an airplane to me as a safe place where we could be near one another. In my mind, I needed to find that safe place—to allow my thoughts to rest, and to grieve and heal from the pain. So, God chose a plane.
In my mind, when I crawled into the plane, I was OK, but very weak. All the seats were open; I could choose to sit wherever I wanted. I found myself drawn to a well-worn co-pilot’s seat. I knew the Lord was in the Pilot’s chair. As we flew, God navigated all of the mine fields that appeared in the plane’s path. I sat still, very still, not even able to look over at the Pilot. I knew He was there, that was enough. I was not strong—I was too weak, too worn down by life, and thankful someone was steering. All around the plane, a great battle was underway. Arrows were trying to pierce through the aircraft. We could not see who was fighting off the arrows. God kept flying. I kept sitting—still.
As I sat in my seat, I suffered great pain—yet, God still flew. He was carrying me. He was fighting for me. After what seemed like a long while, I could finally turn my head—and look at my Pilot. That is all I could muster. I continued to be still. He continued to navigate . . . for the navigation we needed was beyond anything I could handle or control. After all, I didn’t know how to fly. I continued to be still. I gave up all control.
The plane—a place that once terrified me became a place for the biggest hand-over I had ever given the Lord. I was at my end, and He took it all for me.
I gave Him myself, my kids, family, others, finances, future, pain, hopes, dreams—and in return, He gave me peace—and the ability to continue to be still. He continues to navigate my joy and pain and carries my burdens as if they are a piece of luggage I can check under the plane. My burdens still exist, but they no longer weigh heavy in my arms. Mind you, I usually pack my luggage to the last ounce!
The verse God gave me through this time:
“I will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14, NIV
Eventually, after much healing—we began to have conversations. I was too weak before, when I could only speak in what felt more like groans. I knew He could understand these. Now, after years of healing, we have plenty of chats. You see, we are flying this life together. I make plenty of suggestions. He listens—and even allows me to fly when I want to. I have found it much better to give Him the controls! After all, I want to serve Him.
Through stillness, the Lord works. Through stillness, the Lord heals. Through obedient stillness, the Lord will fight for you. It is as if God says to us, “Sit in that cockpit seat and let Me fly this plane. You can trust me, as I can navigate better than you can. You have an army of angels fighting on your behalf—fending off arrows and flames . . . though you have been—and still are in pain, I am in control.”
Certainly, at times we are called to action—but, sometimes when we hear these calls, they are refined in stillness before the Lord.