Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God. (NIV)
A sudden and unexpected power outage can be a shock and a source of frustration to those working in offices where telephone, e-mail, fax, and printing capabilities are all dependent on electrical power.
Yet such an event can be a blessing, too, if the only alternative is to turn to God, amid the darkened silence, and to pray.
I have been reminded of this on two occasions recently. In the first one, someone "holding the fort" in the office a couple of weeks ago called early in the morning to say that power was lost and problems were legion. The hope was expressed that I might manage to do something to try to get the day's agenda back on track. When I appeared in the office half an hour later, having done nothing, the cheerful greeting was, "All is well! I prayed, and within ten minutes, power was restored and all the machines that had been malfunctioning are now working just fine!"
The second occasion transpired yesterday afternoon, when a gusty windstorm suddenly knocked out power to several blocks in the neighbourhood of our church. I had been using my laptop on battery power, and so that much of my work was undisturbed, and I finished the sentence and the letter I was writing. I was also, however, in the midst of a telephone conversation with another leader in the congregation, lamenting that I had been unable to have a quiet and uninterrupted hour to pray about and think through a particular matter of mutual concern. The power interruption cut us off in mid-sentence, since our office telephone system is controlled by an electrically-powered computerised system. When we finally re-connected, we agreed that we needed to meet — to talk, yes — but first and foremost to take time to pray. In the meanwhile, before we re-connected, realising that printing, e-mailing, and telephoning were tasks that I would be unable to do, at least not from the venue of my office, my first inclination was to leave the office and go elsewhere — to a location where power was available. Yet before I did so, I was strongly convicted that perhaps this was time God was giving for prayer.
All too often in this world of perpetual motion, we lack a lively sense of the presence of God. The psalmist is right: "Be still!" — and then we shall know. May God grant us a renewed quiet, and a renewed knowledge and experience of His presence.
Prayer: Lord, teach us to be still, to sense Your presence, and to perceive Your listening ear, waiting for our voices to talk with You. In Jesus' name, we ask. Amen.