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Topic: Whispers (01/26/04)
TITLE: Be still and know that I am God
By Bonnie Baker
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I grew up in the suburbs and as an adult worked in Portland, Oregon. For 9 years my office was on the 11th floor of a downtown building. I loved the bright lights and hustle. Christmas time was exciting in the city, there were so many wonderful decorations and scores of people shopping and milling about. The boats would even parade on the Willamette river with decorations and an array of colored lights. It gave me a sense of urgency and excitement. I do like a fast pace and busy schedule. There were numerous café's and coffee houses with people sitting outside in the summer. I could imagine the conversation of strangers. I often met my friends for coffee to catch up on their busy lives too.
In contrast, I also relished retreats to the mountains, lakes, or beach house to soothe my harried soul. It's in those times, when all is quiet and still, when you can hear every sound, I let my mind wander. I would form new dreams and revisit old ones. When the birds sang their morning song and I sipped my coffee still half asleep, God's still, small voice whispers to me, "I'm in control, relax and be at peace. This is my creation made for your pleasure. I love you, you are my child." Then, after a few days, I feel ready to go back and face new challenges.
There are times too, when I am awakened out of the deep sleep of complacency of the day to day routine and God uses the circumstance to call me to his throne. After I had moved to Colorado from Oregon, I received an email from my son. "Mom," he wrote, "my orders came through, I leave for Iraq in two weeks". My heart fell into a bottomless pit. I felt like it was pierced with an ice pick. I could feel my muscles tighten and tears welled up in my eyes, I could barely maintain composure as graphic pictures, from all the war movies I had seen, raced before my eyes. Oh Lord, please, please . . .I was already preparing myself for the worst. I summoned up strength to call him. "No, Mom don't come, I'll be back." He was trying to be brave for me, I could hear the fear in his voice. "Yes, son," I said. "I know the Lord will protect you, and the men and women in your command. I won't be able to see you but the Lord sees where you are and He will keep you safe for me." I was trembling, but kept my composure until I hung up the phone.
I knew why he didn't want me to come. That is a good-bye to hard to for him right now and he had a lot of preparation to do. He needed to take care of business and plan for his pregnant wife's well being. I understood. This news hit me hard. It was like a town crier had come through the streets yelling "Beware, the enemy approaches, BEWARE! ! He was screaming with a deafening shrill voice. There was no time to prepare. No decision or options to weigh. I had no control, nor did my son. For months, I watched every news report on TV. I went to bed and woke up to the news on the radio. I searched the net for any information as to the position of his battalion. It was exhausting, I couldn't seem to control myself. My brother would turn off the TV and say "That's enough, you have to stop this!"
In the quietness of my bedroom, I'd pour out my heart to the Lord, sometimes weeping uncontrollably, sometimes very much in control. My heart ached for those who had lost their babies in combat, wondering if mine would be next. I couldn't imagine . . . . .
One very special day, I was singing to myself, You are my hiding place. You always give to me the songs of deliverance, whenever I feel afraid, I will trust in you. Then the Lord's still, small voice encouraged me.
It wasn't audible but every cell in my body received it. He said "Bonnie, trust me. I love David more than you do. Whatever happens, I am in control. I will be glorified through your son's life. If his life is spared, it will be for my glory. If I chose to take him, he will be in my arms, and I will receive glory. Remember your life on earth is but a vapor. You will spend eternity with your son and all your loved ones who have trusted me. You can have peace that I am watching him and I have heard your prayers. Thank you for coming to me in your despair. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives Let not your heart be troubled. I want you to be joyful and confident in me.
Since that day, the peace of God has enveloped me like a soft, warm coat. The depth of His love is beyond my comprehension. Many people, who knew of my situation, noticed a difference in me and commented on my ability to cope with my son being in harms way. I told them it isn't me, because I am weak and frightened. God has given me the peace to function, sleep and carry on with joy in my heart. It has given me many opportunities to witness about God's peace.
My son is back in the states now (safe and healthy). His wife safely delivered their first child, a son, shortly after he got home. I am so grateful for God's mercy in our lives. I have become more skilled at quieting myself, even in a harried day, to listen for that still small voice that soothes me and encourages me to love others and to know that I am very loved by an awesome God.