In This Time of Substitute
Be still and know that I am God.
There are very few things we know. Most of the time, getting to the place of knowing or certainty requires taking a deep-dive of faith, first. We hold our breath, prepare for disappointment, maybe, as we go under and into the unknown, hoping to find something worth preserving. Truth beckons with a question, because it is the answer; it is a pilgrimage leading to a holy place, which is itself. You arrive there, but where do you begin? Where you are, where God meets you. He is omnipresent. He can be where you are without abandoning who he is, and without leaving anyone else behind.
…unless you are willing to go so deep that you discover who you truly are, you’ll spend your life being directed by surface desires that only serve to make you more keenly dissatisfied… It’s in this place of deep knowing, God lives.
We can prove what we know; there is evidence for it. This is why we spend so much time justifying ourselves to others; we want them to know we are worth knowing and valuing, like the truth. This is also why we spend so much time looking for the truth; we want something solid to hold onto that will hold onto us. Most things, like disappointment, only leave us with more questions. They let us go and let us down. We want certainty that moves us forward.
We spend so much time looking for what we already have, though. We call life a journey to comfort our uneasiness, it allows us to look ahead instead of within. A journey sounds so much more exciting than a search for what already exists, or what might be lost beneath baggage; we always pack more than we need to on our “journey”, we hold onto more than we’re supposed to. A journey requires moving forward, activity; busy-ness looks like productivity. Stillness can look like wasted time or peace, depending on where you’re standing, where you’ve fallen, or what you’ve been told.
What is the desire beneath the desire? Is it rest? Is it peace? Our deep desires are wise, true, beautiful, and things we can grant ourselves without abandoning our Knowing.
Think of the moments that have rendered you speechless. Death does this to us. We don’t know what to say, there are no real words of comfort. Comforting words depend on faith for their truth: “One day you’ll see them again,” or “They’ve gone to a better place.” But the best reaction isn’t a verbal one; it requires so much and so little of us. Stillness and presence in the silence speak for themselves. Healing happens here. Being still is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. We often hear what we’ve been ignoring when we are silent. Death slows us down, it doesn’t look like an advancing journey; mourning and healing take time.
So much of life depends on dying. Dying to our old selves so we can be better than we were yesterday — less selfish and more loving. Relationships progress because of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a kind of death that involves burying past wrongs so that new life, or a better relationship, can be fertilized by the sins of what was.
There is a calm before and after a storm, a stillness that wants us to listen when it’s easier to scream. Anger is a feeling that doesn’t travel alone; hatred gives it legs and a loud voice to overtake the calm. Together, they’re destructive and almost unstoppable . Generations suffer. Hatred is what happens when anger reacts. Stillness looks like weakness, but the voice of God whispers reason; it gives options when anger seeks to trap. Hatred is always unreasonable and unfair, destroying souls in its path. Healing from wounds requires rest and reflection. But we always want to be moving, acting while we are aching, and destroying because we’ve been destroyed.
But the truth is indestructible, it lives beneath the rubble. It beckons when we’ve reached the bottom, and meets us in the kind of quiet that can be mistaken for loneliness. We find ourselves here, where God lives. His isn’t the angry, judgmental voice we’ve been running from, what we thought the stillness sounded like — that was just the sound of our fear, echoing off the walls we created between him and us. When we hear his voice, we regain our own. Its truth gives us something to stand on and stand for. It meets our need to be known. In the stillness deep within us, where truth lives and God meets us, we find sincerity and healing. There is no longer a void, because the truth fills every empty space.
In this time of substitute
It’s my needs I’ve answered to all the while.
For many of us, our time on Earth is a time of substitute, when we try to meet our deep needs by meeting surface desires. But if we haven’t met ourselves where God lives deep within us, in the truth, how can we begin to know what we need? The stillness is uncomfortable because what lies beneath our pain begins to call. But when we recognize it as the truth asking for healing, we can begin to live in peace and freedom, no longer misguided by surfaces desires.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.