Dry dates, broody camels and perfect calm

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The 19th century English missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, said, “Quiet waiting before God would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow.” Sadly, in our society’s hectic pace, this great truth is tragically neglected. Even Christians can become anxious and overwhelmed with needs, appointments and responsibilities. And if we absorb the frantic attitudes of modern culture into our lives, we end up missing the joyful benefits of waiting on God. Although words like “wait,” “rest” and “be still” are often repeated in the Bible, these are foreign concepts for many people. They rarely consider or even speak such words. It’s as though they are not even on the radar of a society that is only interested in more and more, faster and faster. Yes, we are a nation on the move. We eat fast food during rush hour, and as one medical doctor put it, “We’re hyper-living, like field mice on amphetamines at harvest time.”

Do you think there’s a speed limit to life? In other words, is there a pace beyond which our brain, body and spirit begin to suffer? Undoubtedly, there is such a limit, and we should, at all costs, avoid going beyond it. The Lord says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Surely, the more we obey this command and others like it, the more we will be renewed and refreshed in body, soul and spirit. Jeremiah Burroughs wrote in 1648, “Contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” When you and I know this kind of peace, contentment and calmness in God, we don’t have to run after the biggest, the best, the latest and the coolest. Who needs it when the inner person is being vibrantly nourished with the life God gives through his Son Jesus Christ?

An Arabian proverb says, “Better a handful of dry dates and content therewith than to own the Gate of Peacocks and be kicked in the eye by a broody camel.” King David (who had probably encountered a few “broody camels”) said it well: “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 131).

What can compare with putting our hope in the Lord, waiting before him and being still in his presence? Nothing!