No signs will be given today from Jesus. Nope, not one. Sit in the belly of the whale like Jonah and wait. Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. This passage from Matthew 12 is harsh but as I look to the First Reading from Exodus 14, I understand it differently. Moses tells the people to not be afraid and to stand firm. God will deliver the people that day; they will not perish in the wilderness. Furthermore, Moses says that the Lord will fight for them; they just have to keep still. This is the scene just before he splits the Red Sea.
I am finding it hard to keep still these days. I do not rest well nor, it seems, do I listen well. I tried to book into a retreat centre for next week but it is full all summer, except for when I am away. That is unfortunate for me. I then tried looking at retreat centres on Vancouver Island thinking I want to go to Victoria perhaps but that did not pan out either. I am thinking it might be a good thing to retreat prior to returning to work but maybe God is trying to tell me something else.
This afternoon I went for a hike by myself to see if that would help me keep still. Camera in hand, I also wanted to see if I might be able to walk a good distance yet. As I ambled along, taking photos, I quickly realized that I had not put on bug spray and that was going to be an issue. I kept going though. I slowed slightly as I always do when I have my photographer lens on. For the first part of the walk I was calm. The path was pretty empty. I could hear people at one point. I saw a pile of droppings and thought to myself that it was not bear poop. I walked a bit further, now too far along to turn around, and did see what I knew was bear scat that seemed fairly fresh. Sigh. So much for keeping still. I picked up my pace and started praying my litany of names on my prayer list out loud.
I thought of St. Catherine of Laboure who said that the protection of God is always there. I think it would be ironic that I survive surgery and cancer just to be killed by a bear. I am now swatting mosquitoes and think about West Nile disease. I wonder why I am losing my stillness in such a bizarre fashion. Breathe, I tell myself. God who is good all the time has this too. Do not be afraid. Stand firm. God will fight for me and I just have to stand still….or play dead maybe in this scenario? What funny tricks the mind plays on us sometimes.
How do you keep still in times of stress?
What chips away at your calm and shatters your stillness?
You are a God
brilliant enough to part seas
yet I still sometimes struggle
to see that you are more than capable
of taking care of details.
Your plan does not look much
like mine most days
and I think that is a
very good thing.
Thank you, God, for
having everything under control
even when I do not see it.