A momma deer and her delicate fawn pay us a visit. We watch them stroll across our back lawn, munching clover on their way to the safety of the forest. Our voices stay hushed because words travel easily through the open windows and morning air. If she hears us, she’ll run. There is no misunderstanding; quiet spaces are safe places. Instinctively she knows it—instinctively, I do too.
There is something holy in our respect of this quiet, of our yielding to this peaceful moment of two beautiful creatures grazing on our lawn. It’s an acknowledgment that life thrives in stillness, that God’s presence is felt when we are quiet, allowing balance to take over where turmoil dwelt.
Our stillness holds space, like a bookmark in a cherished chapter of a beloved book. And we visit it again and again and again as the bookmark tells us we are in the right place, our most loved place, our quiet safe place. The momma leads her babe into the thickness of the forest. We believe we will see them again because the quiet of our yard has become their haven.
Allow Yourself to Embrace Quietness
And as I return to washing morning dishes and packing lunches, I can’t help but ponder how a gift of beauty was ours to enjoy because we stayed quiet and watched. How our stopping and quieting gave us a first-row seat to a breathtaking moment and how our holding a quiet space somehow ushered us into our own quiet space. And even after the moment has passed, the quiet space holds us still.
Being held—isn’t that what we all need when life feels out of control? We naturally want to get busy trying to make things better, feel safer, or ensure a happy ending. I know this is why those fishermen scrambled to get Jesus off his pillow and onto his feet when the storm went wild. They were accustomed to waves and wind; what fisherman wouldn’t be? But this moment, this storm, triggered the need in them to gain control like no other storm.
In their noisy panic, they ran to Jesus. It seems so appropriate, but they were not waking him because they thought he could save them. At least, that is not what they said. They didn’t beg him to rescue them, they were just frustrated, maybe terrified, by what seemed to them as his lack of care. They said, “Don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus still stood and spoke. He said, “Quiet, and be still,” and the waves and wind yielded to his authority. Then Jesus turned toward them and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41).
I wonder what might have happened if those men found the faith to quiet themselves, to sleep right next to their teacher. But, their souls gave way to panic and frenzy instead of stillness and quiet. Tools like faith are gifts, but they are gifts we need to learn how to use through practice.
I am positive I would have done the same. So, my heart breaks for these fishermen because Jesus’ words can sound like those of a frustrated and disappointed parent. At least they always have for me until this morning.
Now when I think of the sweet gentleness and quiet space of our morning, I imagine him there too, saying the same words to me: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” But the tone is soft and pleading. I imagine the words rolling over an outstretched hand, one that’s reaching for mine. As if they are an invitation to trade fear for peace and doubt for knowing.
Suddenly, I realize that these questions came to the disciples in the stillness that followed the storm. They were standing in a quiet space, bewildered, certainly awestruck. And Jesus asked with a longing to impart a deep truth, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Receive Peace through Turmoil
They are not questions that come as a reprimand in the middle of turmoil, but ones that come as an invitation in the quiet spaces. They welcome us to step into a peace that holds us when life gets scary.
Walking through turmoil peacefully, fully assured in God’s hand on our lives, takes practice over time. We may come to him out of frustration, or fear, or unrest. We may come as a last resort when our efforts have worn us out and we are no better off for trying. But, however—or why ever—we come, he is faithful. Remembering the times he calmed past storms, remembering how he moved in someone else’s life, remembering he loves us and he never changes, is how we practice. Soon we find that a stillness rests in our soul when times are scary, and soon we can find beauty where we once only saw fear.
The momma and faun return around noon. I spot them and they spot me. We are both statues afraid to twitch. They hope to keep danger away; I hope to keep beauty close. And I suppose we accomplish both when we are still in a quiet space.
Ready to read more about peace? Start here:
Bible Verses from the Grit and Grace Team on Peace
Grace Is Not Weakness; It Requires Strength
Building Faith: Growing in Your Relationship with God
This is What it Means to Be Surefooted
2 Ways to Help You Conquer Fear
How to Lean in and Find Rest
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