Be Still

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
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Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (NIV)

I have lived in Canada for fifty years, and I still don't enjoy winter. It seems like a waste of time to me because I don't like going outside. I find snow not just dangerous but boring. There it is, every day for months — dismal and dirty most of the time, causing innumerable problems. Gone are the bright colours of summer. I try to keep busy indoors to make time pass, but Seasonal Affectation Disorder (SAD) proves that we require light to improve our mood.

During last winter's first snowfall, I tripped on a hidden step and wrenched my hip. It ached for several weeks, sometimes causing muscle spasms. I worried that that might happen during an aqua-fit class, but because of bad weather, I missed some classes.

When I had the flu, I did not recover quickly. I led a four-week Bible study instead of twelve weeks. I missed talking to a close friend who passed away last fall. I missed hearing from a friend in England who has a condition that prevents her now from writing or typing. I missed our pastor who just retired. And we had more snow in April. It was a long winter.

I started new plants indoors. Robins return when the ground temperature reaches 2 degrees Celsius and worms come to the surface. Forsythia blooms when the air temperature reaches 12 degrees. That is the sign "when ground can be worked", as it says on seed packets, and that was the moment that I was longing for.

The first of May dawned with brilliant warm sunshine. After months of inactivity, I bounced up and down the stairs of our two-level house, transporting my seedlings outside. Then, my foot missed a stair, I crashed down — and fractured my ankle.

Frustrated, with a cast on my leg for seven weeks, I asked what God was trying to teach me. Then I remembered another time when in turmoil I heard a Voice clearly speak: Be still ("…and know that I am God" – Psalm 46:10a).

God is in control. Trusting God, the apostle Paul "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Philippians 4:12b NIV). James, the brother of Jesus, tells us to "consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2 NIV).

Psalm 66:10 – For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. (NIV)

Romans 8:28a – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. (NIV)

Summer has come and gone. Winter is on its way again. Working in my garden no longer seems so important. There is more to life than continually striving. Why grow roses if we don't take time to smell them?

For everything there is a season. Whatever "winter" looks like for us, it is a time to be still and trust God.

Prayer: Father, You know what is best for us, and You are in control. Help us to rest in Your arms and bask in Your light when life doesn't work out the way that we expect. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good advice, JJ. Be careful this winter.

    Thank you, JJ, for this thought provoking and comforting meditation. Be still – and know – that – I am God.

    Thank you. I share not your feelings on winter but also understand the frustrations of forced immobility.

    Thank you for helping us to see the things of a bland and a troublesome nature through the eyes of the Holy Spirit can also be sources of purpose and joy.

    Thank you for your devotional “Be Still!” I really needed this perspective after being hospitalized for a month this summer, as well as a month in rehab! During this time I felt so useless. Thank you!

    Interesting devotional today JJ. Yes, there is a “season for everything” I love reading that passage from Ecclesiastes 3. It makes sense, doesn’t it!
    Blessings on your day!

    Thank you for writing this morning’s devotional. A good reminder that God is in control and we need be thankful as He knows best for us. The scripture Romans 8:28 is a great one for us to keep in mind.
    Blessings and may this coming winter be one that will be more bearable for you.

    Just finished reading “Be Still” and enjoyed it very much.
    You mentioned we all have winter seasons in our lives, how true!
    Opportunities to either fret or be still. May we choose God’s way, and “Be Still” knowing He is in control. Thanks JJ!

    JJ, can I ever relate! Yes, winter is often brutal lasting forever, or so it can seem, but we know Spring will come eventually. Thanks be to God that His Presence carries us through, especially when we injure ourselves (or in my case, have surgery) and must forgo the activities we cherish most. Hugs, my devotional writing friend. God’s got this, and us, too! Praise the Lord! Blessings.

    So why are you in Canada, the land of ice and snow? Beautiful snow and ice, that you can do so many wonderful things with: like Ice Blocks for Ice boxes (before there were electric fridges), Snowmen, Snow Angels, Snowball fights, Ice Hockey, curling, skiing, to name a few. Maybe one needs to born to it to like it. We rejoice in it. We ask the Lord’s blessing on you, and great patience, for winter people like us.

    Thanks so much for sharing from your point of view what the onset of winter can look like, with its promise of short days and icy cold. I recall a time when winter looked like that to me as well, not wanting to venture out, almost in tears.
    All these years later, it has changed for me, and after reading your devotional, I have a feeling that this winter will be different, even special, for you. And I suspect that those you have touched with your story will remember to “Be Still” and bask in God’s Light. When we do, He will reveal the majesty and beauty of this awesome season, as with all His creations.
    Autumn is my favourite time of year, with the cool crisp air and the radiant colours; but following close on its heels is winter – a time for warm scarves and mittens, hot chocolate with marshmallows, watching children make snowmen (or helping them to build them), cozy fireplaces, picture-perfect snow-covered trees, and resourceful birds that find shelter in them. During this time when sunlight is at a premium, and we struggle through, we can find shelter and warmth in the arms of our loving God, whose birth we will also celebrate in mid-winter.
    I pray God’s richest blessings on you and your loved ones, and as we journey through each of our Creator’s seasons, may we all experience His presence in new and exciting ways.

    I have read this message today and today was a poor day so I really needed it. Thank you so much! I know that tomorrow will be better.
    May God bless you!


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