All day long, I had been busy – picking up, cleaning bathrooms and scrubbing floors – because my grown children were coming home for the weekend. I went shopping and bought groceries for a barbecue, complete with ribs and chicken. I wanted everything to be perfect.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was dog-tired. I just couldn’t work as long as I could when I was younger.
“I’ve got to rest for a minute,” I told my husband, Roy, as I collapsed into my favorite rocking chair.
Music was playing, and the dog and cat were chasing each other, when the telephone rang.
A scripture from Psalms popped into my mind. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10 NIV). Suddenly, I realized that I hadn’t spent much time in prayer that day. Was I too busy to even utter a few simple words of thanks to God? All of a sudden the thought of my beautiful patio came to mind. I can be quiet out there, I thought, longing for a few minutes alone with my Savior.
Roy and I had invested a great deal of time and work into the patio that spring. The flowers and hanging baskets were breathtaking. It was definitely a heavenly place of rest and tranquility. If I can’t be still with God in that environment, I can’t be still with Him anywhere, I thought. So, while Roy was talking on the telephone, I slipped out the back door and sat down in my favorite patio chair. I closed my eyes and began to pray, while counting my many blessings.
A bird flew by me, chirping and singing, and interrupted my thoughts. It landed on our feeder and began eating. After a few minutes, it flew away, singing another song.
I closed my eyes again, and just then a gust of wind blew, causing my wind chimes to dance. They made a joyful sound, but again, I lost my concentration on God. I squirmed and wiggled in my chair, then looked up toward the blue sky and saw the clouds moving slowly toward the horizon. The wind died down, and my wind chimes finally became quiet.
Again, I bowed my head in prayer, only to hear the honking of a horn. I almost jumped out of my skin, as a neighbor driving down the street waved and smiled at me. I waved back, happy that he cared.
I quickly tried again to settle down, repeating in my mind, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
“I’m trying, God. I really am,” I whispered, “but You’ve got to help me here.”
The back door opened then, and my husband walked outside.
“I love you,” he said. “I was wondering where you were.”
I chuckled as he walked over and kissed me, then turned around and went back inside. He wanted to check on me, to know that I was all right.
“Where’s the quiet time?” I asked God. Then, suddenly, my heart began to flutter. There was no pain, only a brief sign of life inside me. This is impossible, I thought. There’s no time to be still and to know that God is with me. There’s too much going on in the world, and entirely too much activity all around me.
Then it dawned on me. God was speaking to me the entire time I was attempting to be still.
“Thank You for the joy of music,” I remembered saying as I began my quiet time – and He sent a sparrow to brighten my life with song. “Thank You for the comfortable world you created for me, Lord,” I said next – and He sent a gentle breeze. “Thank You for my friends,” I continued – and He sent a neighbor to let me know I had a friend. “And thank You for my family, God,” I added – and He sent my sweetheart to offer his sincere sentiments of love. Then, when I thanked God for the gift of life, He caused my heart to flutter. While I was counting my blessings, God was multiplying them.
I looked at the events as interruptions at first. Looking back, I knew God had sent them as special blessings. I laughed when I realized sometimes being still also means looking, praying and rejoicing in His Holy name.
“I’m trying, Lord. I really am,” I remembered saying. Then I realized that He had been with me the entire time I was seeking Him. Unfortunately, I had been too blind to see the blessings He was sending my way while I was spending quiet time with Him.