Be Still



For Sandy, who gave me this idea, and whom I love with an undying love.


From Wence Cometh the Storm?

My favorite Hymn is “It is Well”, especially lately. It seems like I have needed this Hymn a lot these past few months.

What has happened? I have lost my family. I have lost my love. My identity was stolen twice. The plans I had made for the future of my family were destroyed in one fell swoop.

In the end, I was left with nothing, alone, bereft, broken. The pain of these losses is almost unbearable. Grief and confusion are powerful things. This grief is all consuming and threatens to smash the ship of my soul against the breakers. I am lost, with no mooring, with no GuideStar, with no compass. Everything I believed about love and family been betrayed by falsehoods and deception.  The hopes I had for the future have been taken away from me.

This storm and confusion has taken hold of me and relentlessly tears my sails away. I have lost my anchor. I am taking on water. Where will I find that shore? Where is my mooring? Who will rescue me from this storm?

On top of this, if you know anything about Aspergers, you know that one so afflicted usually needs a “normal” to be the touchstone to all things normal. My touchstone is the woman I love, who is no longer part of my life. This too adds waves to my storm. My ship is being battered by things that normal people deal with as if only a gentle breeze were blowing. Without the touchstone, it doesn’t matter how “High Functioning” you are, some things simply do not make sense to you.

Where Do I Hide From the Storm?

You can’t.

If you run from the deck of your ship to the belly of your ship, you are still in the middle of the storm. So, where do you turn? How do you find your way back to safety, to the shore? Where is the touchstone? Where is your Guidestone? Where are safety and peace?

Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me, and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will let you find me.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14a.

One of the hardest things to realize is that even these things are for a purpose. It’s hard to remember the greater good when you are being torn to shreds by your own circumstances.  It ceases to matter why you are in this storm.  It can be a storm of your own making (Which is usually the case) or a storm brought on by the selfish desires of people you depended on.  Or this storm could be the plan of evil people who delight in your destruction for their own advancement.  It ceases to matter when your ship is taking on water, and your sails are gone.  At this juncture, all you can do is hang on to the nearest mast, lash yourself to it, and pray.

Screaming At the Storm Doesn’t Help.

I screamed.

I cried.

I tore my clothes (I only got more exposed to the storm that way).

I cursed the waves and the wind.

Then I prayed for the storm to take me. I welcomed the sweet release of death. I wanted it all to be over. The storm had won. I had lost.

Why bother…right?

I discovered that screaming at the storm only makes you hoarse. The storm doesn’t care. The storm rages on whether you love it or hate it.  Storms always do what storms do…wreak havoc.  That is what storms do.

So, what is left? Tied to my mast, getting drenched, broken in spirit, all I had left was to wait and let the storm do what the storm does.

Be Careful Where You Turn

I turned to fellow believers.

In America, fellow believers are too busy being American to let things like storms in other people’s lives divert them from their lives.  Afterall, it isn’t their storm, and God must have placed you (The Sailor) in that storm for a reason.

Best not to interfere with the storm.

What you, my fellow believers, fail to realize is, the storm exists to expose the heart of the sailor, and your heart. Indifference is not the fruit of the spirit. Berating the sailor in the storm is not a fruit of the spirit. Lecturing the sailor in the fine craft of Seamanship while the storm rages is not a fruit of the spirit.  Pulling out the Sailor’s “The Art of Sailing Manual” and lecturing on all the shoulda coulda and woulda is not a fruit of the spirit (Or have you not read Job?)

So, where does this battered sailor turn when all hope is lost?

Deep in the midst of the howling wind and blowing rain is a still small voice.  She is the voice of the Holy Spirit.  She calls you into the presence of God.  She reminds you that you are His beloved, whom He died for.

God is there, waiting for you to stop fighting the storm.  The storm is not the problem.  Storms come to everyone for any number of reasons.  But to the lives of His children, even the storm is meant to be a blessing (See Romans 8:28).  Storms sweep the deck of useless things.  Storms shake up your life in a way that forces you to take stock of what is important.

And what is it that God, my Father has said to me?

BE STILL and Know I Am God.

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

(Psa 46:10 WEB)

“God is mighty. God is infinite. God is Love. God is ever-present, even in our storms.”

That is what He said to me.

In my arrogance, I railed against God and shouted, “Lord, am I ever seeking you?”, “Do I not always pray, read your word, listen for you?”, “Where are you, Father?” ,”God, I am done with my life, please bring me home.”

He let me know that He is why my ship has not sunk to the depts of the sea. He is why the Leviathan has not attacked me.  He is what protects me from falling to my death.  He is why I am still alive.

He is not done with me.

I asked Him, “Then why has my love betrayed me, why have I lost everything dear to me?”

He tells me, “You have Me. That is sufficient.”

I cry.

I don’t feel like that is an answer.

Then something remarkable happens.

Even though the storm still rages, and my ship is being battered into toothpicks, all grows quiet.

A light penetrates the darkness.

He has arrived.

His hands are scarred from something that had pierced them.  His eyes are so full of love and compassion, I cannot stand to look at him.  I am undone.  I can’t hide from Him.

He stops right in front of me, where I am lashed to the Main Mast.  He looks at me with a love and compassion I have never, ever known before.

He tells me to stop fighting Him.

He tells me that the point in Being Still is to cease my useless striving after answers.

Be still…don’t move.

Stop speaking.

Stop trying to make it make sense.

Just…be, and know that He is God, not just of all the universes, but of my heart.

I will not tell you everything else He told me, but I will tell you this:

When you Be Still, and stop trying to put God in your little religious box, when you let Him into your storm, when you capitulate and know that your efforts are useless, when you give in and trust that He has your best interests at heart, that storm you tried to hide from becomes a ride that you relish.

You know that as Long as you be still and trust Him, no matter how things look to you, He is your Captain, and he will guide you through the breakers to a land full of His promise and purpose.

The difference is how much you try to fight the storm, or how well you stop fighting God.

My Confession

I recently told Sandy, “Really and truly, All I want is less of me and more of Him. But I must be doing this all wrong. The more I try, the farther away He seems.”

I was trying on my own might. Not only that, I was trusting others, and not God for direction.

Life is full of storms.

Your spouse will eventually let you down, maybe even betray you.

You may make and lose fortunes.

You will have friends and lose friends.

You will end up in places where you are utterly alone, in a hostile environment, with no one you can really call a brother.

I confess, I relied on all these trappings for my sense of place and belonging.

I cannot be less of me unless I first am still. God has to do the work. I have to submit.

I needed my deck cleared of all that stands between God and me.

I confess I am useless and hopeless without him. I confess I made the mistake of using others to anchor me. God has allowed this storm to clear away all the things that stand between Him and me.

Being Still

The first part of knowing that He is God is to be still…to stop striving…to stop your own efforts.

God will reveal himself to the heart that diligently seeks Him, but it first begins with being still.  Being diligent doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself, it means that you diligently submit your desires, will, and understanding to Him.

The Hebrew words for “Be Still” imply a rich tapestry of meaning: To stop moving (Of one’s own passionate volition), to stop acting out and to stop speaking. To leave off your striving, to capitulate over to the knowledge that He alone is God.

When the Lord appears to you in your storm, you have begun to be still. When His love washes over you, the storm takes on new meaning and purpose. Instead of fighting all that has happened, you finally get to the place where you trust He will guide you through this, and He has a purpose for this, too.

God does not send evil your way. Evil will still come to you. Storms happen. It no longer matters if you brought on the storm, or sailed right into it, or were minding your own business when the storm suddenly appears (they do that when you re at sea).

God will take advantage of your circumstances and show His love and His might, and He will guide you through this. No matter what brought on the Storm, if you will submit to His Lordship in your life, you will see that even this pain, this grief, this sorrow, will bring you closer to Him, and make you like Him, and He will teach you how even this bitter grief serves the Kingdom.

My storm is still there.  My sorrow is ever as deep as it ever was.  My tears still fall, and the pain is still ever present.   But I now know, He gathers all my tears in a bottle and will exchange them for His Joy.

Storms have to run their course.

However, in this storm, I have learned that all my vain striving is wasted and that I must fail, and accept that I have failed. No man can know God unless God reveals Himself to that man.

I have also learned that Heaven cannot be taken by storm, only by invitation. But I first must be still.  He makes the pain and tears and sadness and loss take on a new meaning.  We grieve for the loss of true love, but God will heal that hurt, if you just be still.

I cannot know the Lord unless I am still.

The Lord wants you to know Him, too.

Just be still….

I love you in Jesus.

PS – I love you, Sandy. No matter what. I love you, and I always will. No man can take that away from me. I pray God leads you to your new life. I will always love you.

David Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Faithful


And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

(Php 1:6 AMP)

To The Point

There was this chicken farm out on the edge of Sarepta, Louisiana. In front of this chicken farm was a two-lane, blacktop road. Traffic was unusually heavy for such a rural location. Helga, the lead chicken, decided she’d show the other hens she is the lead for a reason and wanted to prove it by laying her eggs in a way no other had.

Helga ran to the Rooster and told him as much. The Rooster asked, “What do you plan on doing that is different than what you normally do?” “Well,” said Helga, “I will lay my egg right in the middle of the blacktop road out front! That’s what I’ll do!” The Rooster gave this some considerable thought. Finally, he said, “Ok, Helga, you do that, but I have one piece of advice.”

“What’s that advice, Rooster?” asked Helga.

“Well,” said the Rooster, “I reckon when you get out there on the road, you better get to the point and lay it right on the line.”

Good Advice

I’ll take that advice.

This blog entry is not for the milk and cookies boys who never said a discouraging word. Nor is it for those of you who are more religious than Christian. Neither of you would remotely understand. Tonight, I’m writing to people like me who struggle with their relationship with the Lord. I’m speaking specifically about those times when it seems all your prayers are bouncing off a brass sky. This is about the times when your old Pre-Christian life seemed to be bigger in promise than your Christian life seems.

Here we are, the newly faithful. We have a very colorful past. We have seen more in one year of our lives than most people see in two lifetimes. When we were sinners, we sinned in a way that made Satan blush. I’m talking to you. The rest of you…well…go do something useful…or watch the Olympics or something.

Here’s What You Are Going Through

  Right now, you hate your life.  You hate your job.  The people who say they are there for you aren’t really…they have their own lives, and you need to take a number. You are lonelier than you have ever been in your life. You see how easy it would be to find companionship, and the temptation to do so is nearly more than you can take.  You just want to talk to another human.  Talking to other Christians only makes you frustrated because while it appears they are listening, all they are really doing is getting ready to show you how well they can counsel you and tell you what is wrong with your thinking and attitude.  And you don’t have the words that would help them understand how desperate and in pain you are.  How abandoned you feel.

You feel as if you are not really in Christ, and that He has left you to your own devices.  You think you’ll go mad because you want a close friend, and you’d give up any moral values just to have someone to talk with, to spend time with, to affirm that you are worth something to someone.  Being this alone was never on your agenda.

Maybe you ask yourself if you are somehow getting what you deserve.  Afterall, if you were all that, your significant other would not have abandoned you, your friends would really be friends, not just meaningful acquaintances, and if your life were different, you wouldn’t be going through this.

HERE’S THE DEAL

I will not waste your time by telling you how I get it, and I understand, and that is exactly what I am going through.  If you are in half the pain I am in; you could care less what I, or anyone else, is going through.

But please understand this. There is one who was rejected by his own Father. He was abandoned by all his friends when he needed a friend. His family turned their backs on him and said he was crazy. He was completely and utterly rejected by everything and everyone he knew, both on earth and in heaven.

Jesus gets it.

The deal is this; HE chose you for salvation. You have to get this part. CHRIST ON PURPOSE chose YOU. You really do belong to Him.  I have to tell you, He is not done with you, even if you think it is all over.

These failures you are going through are for a reason. His strength is magnified in your weakness. Jesus will never stop being your Lord, and His Holy Spirit will never give up on you, abandon you, or forsake you. That is HIS promise.

No, that is not as fun as that sweet looking thing that wanted you to come up for coffee, but the result of His promise will lead you to happiness that no other can or will provide.

THE POINT:

Don’t give up. Find in you that place where faith resides. That place is filled with the gift of faith from Christ himself. It is not your faith, therefore it cannot be corrupted, bought, cheapened, or diminished in any way. It came from Christ and it belongs to Christ, and it is His gift to you forever. When you admit you are weakened to the point of breaking, He will reveal His mighty power in you. He promises, “A broken and contrite heart, He will not despise.”

Take that faith and let it rest in the assurance that because Christ chose you for salvation, he also chose you to complete you to be in his image. The point of what we are going through right now is so that we will learn to hand this to Him. He died of this stuff. It is His stuff now. Let Him have it. HE will take it and give to you, in return, His life, His glory, His gifts, His resources.

Please don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t give out your self to the next pretty face that offers you warmth. She will only leave you cold in the end, and full of even greater shame and pain than you know now.

HE IS FAITHFUL:

Nothing on earth or in heaven or under the earth can remove you from His loving arms. NOTHING. Big deal if you backslid, or gave up, or sought help from others. BIG DEAL. Stop and trust. Do it now.

He promises that he will never leave you or forsake you. He promises that he will always be with you, even when you don’t think he is

Give this to him, and watch Him work it out. You have no idea what being patient and resting in Him will eventually do. If you give up and give in to this temptation, you will get to start all over. This lesson is on purpose, and has value, and will lead to your growth. It’s all part of becoming like Him.

Please, don’t give up.

I love you,

David G. Perkins