On February 13, 2014, Raleigh lay paralyzed under a blanket of snow and ice. My husband’s ride home from work that normally takes seventeen minutes had taken him more that five hours the previous afternoon. All night annoying beeps had signaled the power’s struggle to stay on. It finally gave up. In the morning, I looked out on a winter wonderland. But the beauty gave me no pleasure.
I should have been on my way to the airport. An annual writing conference in Colorado would start that evening. My flight had been canceled. There had been one seat available the day before, but the airlines wouldn’t let me switch, because they had not yet canceled my flight.
Snow had begun to fall at the time the flight I wanted to be on took off. A couple of hours later, the airlines canceled my flight. I was BUMMED. To know I would have been there if the airlines had let me take the earlier flight gnawed at my gut.
Not only would I miss the conference, I wouldn’t see my friend, my editor, or my book agent. And I’d paid for the conference. This was a big treat to myself. Now I wouldn’t even be able to reap the benefit of my investment.
The bamboo outside my window bowed under the weight of clear ice. It’s top leaves kissed the ground. Above it, a broken tree branch dangled. The contrast struck me. As I looked at the scene, I remembered my cousin’s email. “Be still and know that I am God.”
The bamboo would rise again. The branch wouldn’t. I could freely bow like the bamboo and accept God’s sovereignty in my life. Or, like the branch, I could resist my circumstances and snap.
If I submitted, I would enjoy the day snowed in with my family. If not, I’d be snowed in and miserable. Either way, I could not change my circumstances. But if I freely bent to God’s sovereignty, then like the bamboo, my spirits would rise again.
I picked up my journal and exercised my faith. If You’ve allowed this to keep me from going, then I will trust this to be your perfect will for me, (Rom. 12:2). I will be still and know You are God—not the airlines, not the weather, not me—You alone are God.
Later that day, my daughter, who works for the airlines, said, “Mom, they’ve opened a flight first thing tomorrow morning. There is one seat left. Do you want it?”
Now for the miracle: God had transformed my decision to submit to His sovereignty into a heart-felt desire for His will. I earnestly only wanted God’s will.
More ice was predicted. It didn’t come. I was able to make the last two thirds of the conference. However, the bigger miracle for me was experiencing God’s rest in the midst of my disappointment.
What circumstances beyond your control are robbing your rest? What would it look like for you to “cease striving and know that I am God”?
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Deborah W. Wilson