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Wrestling and Dancing

(By Rachel Joyce)

As I was praying about what to write on, the topic of being still in God’s presence was heavy on my heart. “How can I write on that, Lord? I fail so much. I love the time I spend in Your Word each morning, but I struggle with stilling my heart in Your presence. You’re teaching me about grace and acceptance, but I’m so far from living it out in its fullness.” 

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Ps 46:10). “Teach me, Lord, to be still. What does it mean, anyway, and how can I, your stressed-out daughter, possibly know Your stillness, the stillness of the God of the ages?” So I searched in Your Word to learn Your truth. 

The psalmist David tells us in Psalm 37:7,

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. 

Be still. Wait patiently. I love e-sword because although I don’t know Hebrew, the definitions are there for me. So when I want to explore the depth of a verse, I look, word by word, and pray, “Lord, please teach me; guide me in Your truth.” The Hebrew word for be still is râphâh: to relax, sink down, let drop (Strong’s Concordance). Relax? I’m terrible at relaxing. Leaving my burdens in your hands is so hard. I think I’ve done it, but then I turn around and realize that I’ve picked them up again. Their weight rides heavily upon my shoulders. One of my best friends has cancer. The chemo has increased her pain and my heart hurts for her. Radiation is coming up. “Help us, Lord! We need Your strength! Heal her, please! She does so much good for so many. She blesses my life more than I can express! Work in a mighty way, Oh Savior mine. You’ve done it before. I know You can do it again.”

Be still. Wait patiently. The word translated wait patiently is chûl: to dance, to twist, to whirl about, to writhe (in travail with), to wait anxiously, to be born (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon). Ahh. My guilt eases as I realize that it’s not quite as simple as I had thought. (Things rarely are.) Why do we want a swift answer? Why are we so quick to give one? The deeper one’s anguish, the more nauseating a pat answer is. “Lord help us all. Why are we so quick to answer, so slow to just stop and be with others in their grief? Compassion. Listening. Resting together.” Sometimes our “patient waiting” is wrestling with the truth like Jacob with the angel. Circumventing the process maims us, keeps us from knowing God, makes us shallow, “answer people” who can’t rest in that wrestling place. 

So I will wrestle in this pain and I will dance to the rhythm of your grace. And sometimes it might look like sinking, other times like soaring, but through it all Your hand will be in mine, and mine in yours. Your strength will flow through me. And I will rest close to You so I can feel the warmth of Your presence and hear Your still, gentle whisper in my ear. “I love You, Daughter.”

Getty image courtesy of Ross Rodgers.


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