I have the privilege of contributing to He Reads Truth, a website of whose purpose is “To help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ.” They do this by providing scripture reading plans accompanied by reflections that can be accessed for free online or purchased as print books. For those of you looking to engage scripture in a fresh way, these studies/plans will refresh your soul and engage your mind.
What follows is the piece I wrote for the "Hymns" reading plan. You can find the full plan HERE.
Day 4: "Be Still, My Soul"
Psalm 62, Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 8:22-25, James 5:7-8
Several years ago, my wife wanted to get backyard chickens, and I fought it. I thought the idea was crazy. We live in the city—in the suburbs. Chickens? Really? But she wore me down. And it’s been one of the best parenting decision we’ve ever made. Our kids love them. They’ve named them. And through feeding, collecting eggs, and scooping chicken poop, my daughters have learned all kinds of things about daily responsibility.
But one of the most significant moments came on the day a dog jumped our back fence and killed two of our hens. My daughters’ hearts were broken. I disposed of the bodies, and that night we had a chicken funeral. We went around the dinner table, each sharing our favorite memories of Rebekah and Matilda. We’re not the most sentimental family, but we still grieved. I can remember sitting on the bed that evening with my youngest while she cried. She needed her dad to help her find rest.
A mentor of mine once told me, “Life is full of unfinished symphonies.” It’s true. In this fallen world, things are always falling apart. We face cancer, lost jobs, and disability. Hopes and dreams are deferred. Loved ones die. But even when we feel life’s brokenness more than we’ve ever felt it before, God is still with us. We can patiently bear our cross of grief and pain, because He is on our side.
Jesus calls us to come to him with our griefs and fears. He wants to bear them. Let Him quiet your soul today. When I feel anxious, grieved, and oppressed, my tendency is either to run to my friends or to make myself busy in order to take my mind off the griefs and worries. This isn’t wrong, but Psalm 62 reminds me of my need to first bring my griefs to my Father, just as my little girl brought hers to me. We find true rest in God alone; our hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:1, 5). People and things will always let us down, but God remains faithful (Psalm 62:9-12).
This can be hard to trust when we experience loss and injustice (Sometimes we just want to be mad at the neighbors’ dog!) We can’t always trace out what God is doing, but we know that he orders and provides. Rest and hope are found in remembering his power and providence over all of life’s storms (Luke 8:22-25). One day, he’ll show us the end of the symphony he’s writing for us. He’ll correct the prevailing forms of injustice we experience in this world. And, for his people, Jesus will repay--from his own fullness--all that He has previously taken away (Isaiah 62:3).