Be Still


 

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days.

Exodus 24 : 12a, 15 – 16a

***

Waiting is not my forte. My leg shakes violently up and down like a wooden roller coaster when i sit. i swear in traffic, jutting in and out of lanes like skipping waves on a watercraft. i change the television at commercial break to another show i have no intention of watching. Waiting is anathema to me.

This bleeds over with viscous lethality into my spiritual life. (Or perhaps vice-versa.) Often my heart stands arm-crossed foot-tapping after prayer, looking at its watch and comparing it to God’s bus schedule, wondering why He is late. Even while i recognize that everything i have is grace from Him, i still find myself wondering why He isn’t handing out more, particularly in the healing-from-sin department. My heart is a rainy day with the sun shining, half cleansed leper and half petulant child.

***

i think of how i might have felt in Moses’s shoes. Finally, God had freed His people, after many years of waiting, and now He was going to reveal His perfect law. So i trudge up the mountain, eager to see what He has in store for His people.

…and nothing happens for six days. So i pray. “Uh, LORD? i see this big cloud all around, and i feel Your presence there, but…am i missing something? i’m not sure what i’m supposed to be getting out of all of this. Is there a lesson here?”

All the while, looking for God for what He can do for me, and missing the point. I was there to wait.

Even spiritual fulfillment, even healing from sin and struggle, even purity and faithfulness, even righteousness, even these can be golden calves of the heart. At times, i find myself longing for these things not because they are from God, not because they will unite me with Him, but simply because i do not want to hurt any longer, do not want to feel my own failures rotting me out like swallowed needles. The litmus test for this: waiting. When i find myself growing impatient, when my soul is leg-shaking and channel-changing instead of my body, then i am treading dangerous ground. It is in these times that i must quiet my heart, stop, sit, listen instead of speak, and above all, wait. i am right to want righteousness, right to want freedom from sin, but it has been promised and is already coming. Of course this does not excuse me from my duty to live as faithfully as my capabilities allow, but it also should be a tremendous source of peace when i do not do so. i need not fear. i need not doubt. i need not be impatient. And i need not curse at the guy in front of me who just won’t go the speed limit either. But then, that’s the healing upon which i wait.

I wait for your salvation, O LORD.       – Psalms 49 : 18

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