The Most Important
By Anthony Casperson
Life is hectic. It’s filled with many tiring problems.
And that’s an understatement.
For me, the past few weeks have been so filled with problem after problem. Pain after discomfort after illness. And in all honesty, I’m waiting to see what else is going to go wrong as I’m finally starting to see things settle.
In the midst of it all, many of the things that I do—like write these blogs and prepare the sermons for the website—have not held the full attention that they deserve. For instance, I came up with the idea for last week’s blog while in about the 8th hour of being in the emergency room, under a lot of pain, on the night before I had to have it written so that it could be uploaded on time. And this week I’ve gone to my regular job while still in pain, also having to care for my dad who had back surgery the week before. (Yeah, we were in the same hospital at the same time for different reasons. Lucky us.)
Doctor visits, thoughts about upcoming medical bills, and general exhaustion were on my mind. And a couple of days ago, I realized that I still had no idea what to write about for this blog. The question arose in my mind if I’d have to skip an upload for the first time (other than for the Christmas and New Year’s weeks that I regularly do) in almost 7 years.
I wracked my brain for something. Anything. A topic. An idea. Time was flying by and I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough cognitive ability to concentrate much longer. There were too many other important things that required my attention.
Almost audibly, I felt the word “Breathe.”
Deeply, I inhaled. Thoughts of God’s consistent faithfulness in problem after problem washed over me. Pain would be healed, or be given the grace to live with it. My dad would be cared for, even if I had to go slowly to do it, or rely on others to help as well—which some thankfully have. And fears would be walked through with God right beside me.
What I needed right there and then—and continue to need, if I’m being honest—is to be still. Slow down. And let the goodness, faithfulness, love, and so much more of God wash over me. Bathe in his glory. Be immeasurably filled with his every spiritual blessing. (Yeah, even preachers occasionally need to be reminded of their own sermons.)
A couple of breaths in, with the presence of God so near, one more thought broke into my mind. “Y’know, this would be a good topic for the blog this week.”
I almost slapped myself.
Here I was, freaked out about important things, but forgetting the most important thing. And right when the needed reminder began to soak in, I shook myself off to something lesser. Something good? Yes. Important? Yeah. A part of my calling? Absolutely.
But not the most important.
In that moment, I didn’t need a solution to what blog I was going to write this week—though I’m thankful that I was able to write it. I needed to let God be God in my life. Take the place of the most important, which is where he belongs. And only after being in quiet solitude with his overwhelming presence, would we work his will in my life.
There’s a pretty famous quote from the bible that says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” But the context of that half a verse is often forgotten. Psalm 46 begins with a statement of God being our refuge amidst trouble. A help readily available. And even when waters rage or the world around us crumbles and melts away, we can trust in his presence to be there with us. Faithfully unbroken.
Why can we be sure he’ll withstand the surrounding upheaval? Because the nations that rage around us—that totter and fall to pieces—have melted at his word. None of the trials and tribulations have caught him by surprise.
It is by his unknowable purpose that such events occur for his glory and exaltation.
The other half of Psalm 46:10, after saying, “Be still and know that I am God,” says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” We can be still in the face of troubles and tribulations and pain because the God who always will be exalted has chosen to be our refuge. He lavishes his goodness, faithfulness, love, and so much more of himself on us.
And we, in turn, glorify him for it.
He is exalted, raised as the most important, when we let his presence wash over us. When he lavishes himself on us, especially in the middle of our hectic and tired lives.
However troublesome the situations going on in your life are, God is calling you to breathe. Slow down. And be still in his refuge.
There’s nothing that he’s prepared for our lives that catches him unawares. And whatever important things you may need to do right now, they’ll be much better performed with him at your side.
Let the most important empower you to do the rest. Take a minute to breathe and soak in his presence.