All Now Mysterious

Posted on by WMYFC

ALL NOW MYSTERIOUS

“Be still, my soul—the Lord is on thy side!/Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain/Leave to thy God to order and provide/In ev’ry change He faithful will remain/Be still my soul—thy heav’nly friend/Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
--vonSchlegel – “Be Still My Soul”


Night brings doubt.  The shadows close in like attending sentinels, jeering and attentive-eyed.  Their attack is sinuous, almost fluid, as they lap at our fading consciousness.  Our eyes grow wide in the darkness, searching for the attack’s direction.  Blood sings a dark harmony in our veins.  We are left too often breathless in anticipation of the unknown.  Seconds drudge by, minutes, hours, all in an endless processional.

Morning has its own arsenal of worries.  Sluggish eyes open on possibilities for greatness or defeat.  Bones crack as they are stretched, and muscle memory takes over as light filters from gray to white to lemon.  One foot in front of the other, no matter how widely or narrowly they are spaced, nudging into the day that awaits.  Hearts beat with the awareness of attempting once again that which sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t.  Uncertainly settles like a mantle.

And yet, there is Jesus.  He knows our worries and our fears.  The watches of the night are not artifice to him.  Breath may come to us in stilted gasps, or even-toned snores:  no matter, for he is there, ever watchful and in control.  Our nights are his, as well as our days; he shapes us, mends with a deft touch, and sends us forward into the gift of our days.  He knows all about the ambiguity, indeed the unpredictability, of life, so he has made promises to us to still our shuddering hearts:  “He faithful will remain.”

Our agenda notwithstanding, the Lord has at hand the order of our days, the march and cadence of each life’s past, present, and future.  We are asked to trust and obey, according to his order, and provision will be made.  We are his, the joy of his heart, and he calms us in our unruliness.  He shushes our irresolution by restoring confidence by way of promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  How indeed can comfort be eschewed at the trickle of words, so like water over pebbles, inherent in the pledge Matthew records of Jesus: “…I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)  There is eternity in those assurances, a contract, if you will, to which Jesus sets his signature.  We are to rest in him, in his reality and integrity, and all else is as windblown leaves on a swirl of autumnal air.

Through night, through shadow, through disappointment and fear and loss, the Lord’s voice lifts us into the light.  Though wind and wave alike threaten to capsize our vessel, Jesus calms the storm by being Jesus, and because of his presence, his definite if not palpable presence, he stills our soul.  Our hope is in him, our confidence; we are not to forget.  After all, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8: 31b)  Those who would show us nonchalance or injustice are as nothing if we wait patiently on the Lord, keeping to his promises, the bedrock upon which we build.  Rest and assurance come from him as gifts to the wayward and the wanting.

God is faithfulness incarnate.  Trusting in His name may not solve every issue that plagues us, it may not answer every question that strikes like summer lightning across the landscape of our brain, or likewise plucks and thrums at our heart.  The call is to remain faithful to Him, for in control as Father to his brood, He is ever faithful.  Ever faithful.  The exquisitely perfect lyrics of Katharina vonSchlegel’s hymn, quoted above, are themselves a call to faithfulness, giving a hint to a future beyond the calamities of life that so wear us down and leave us breathless: “When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone/Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.”  He is a loving, sacrificing, restoring God, and He is faithful every day, never tiring in His quest for us as His broken and searching children.  How can a rich and real joy not suffuse us as we contemplate the promises of God?  How can we not heed the admonishment of Psalm 46: 10, which vonSchlegel uses as her hymnic reference?  “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Give thanks in all things, in every joy and every sorrow, that ours is a faithful God who beckons us to His side.  His arms comfort and His hands soothe.  He asks us to believe, and in so doing, rest and be still.  The call of the Lord, whether through the faintest of whispering sighs or the clamorous cacophony of sea and shore, demands our attention.  Deny not the power of His promises; let our ears drink in—and our hearts absorb—what He has pledged.  His embrace offers rest and peace.  The questions of this life fall away.  “All now mysterious,” vonSchlegel writes, “shall be bright at last.”

* * * * * * *

The Thanksgiving table has been set: flatware sparkles and china shines.  The fragrance of centerpiece flowers permeates the air.  A feast awaits, all the trimmings intact.  As the gathered quiet, eyes alight in anticipation of all that awaits, prepare in confidence a prayer of hope and thanks to the Lord, whose promises have been kept, are being kept, and will continue to be kept.  What joy we have in HIM!

May hope, peace, and stillness be yours.
Roy Smyth for WMYFC

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