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When Your Soul Longs for Stillness

Multicolored banks of feathery astilbe invite me to be still. To stand and savor. To know that their Creator and mine—the Calmer of chaos and Maker of beauty—is God. And that He is present, still at work bringing justice and peace and creating beauty in the world, even when my eyes more easily see all the work that waits to be done.

“[H]e will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth” (Isaiah 42:4).

Sometimes it’s creation’s beauty that draws me back to delighting in our Creator.

Sometimes it’s new phrases—a perfectly minted sentence that helps me see eternal truth in a fresh light.

And sometimes—quite often, in fact—I long to pull back from the hustle and rush of even beautiful new thoughts and linger instead with long-familiar phrases that welcome me into rest like a comfortable friendship.

This week I’ve been soaking in Psalm 46. Slow for a few moments, will you, and read it with me?

As you read the psalm (perhaps even two or three times), is there a word or phrase that stands out to you? How does it connect to your life right now? Is there an invitation that you sense, or a way that God might want to be with you in this day?

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.


P.S. If you like a mix of old and new, you might enjoy Malcolm Guite’s poems in response to each psalm. He wrote them as a corona (from Latin meaning wreath or crown) in which the last line of each poem forms the first line of the next—a striking offering of beauty to the One who wore the crown of thorns, and who has been walking with us through the corona pandemic. You can find the individual poems on his blog (here’s a link to the one on Psalm 46) or in book form. I’m delighting in this mix of millenia-old psalms and responses written just for our time.

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