Unfastening the Tool Belt: Cease, Take Refuge (Psalm 34)


“I sought the Lord, and God answered me,
     and delivered me from all my fears…
The poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
     and was saved from every trouble…
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions o the righteous,
     but the Lord rescues them from them all.
God keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.

The Lord redeems the life of his servants; 
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
– Psalm 34: 4, 6, 17-20, 22

“Silence the contending opinions you have within your heart… You do your best to call a halt to these noisy crosscurrents of personal feelings, opinions, and ideas.  You start over… You center upon what God’s estimate of this person was in creation and is now in God’s redemptive wisdom and love… You choose to center down.” – Wayne E. Oates, Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart, 43.

Weary, I collapse.  The tool belt hangs heavy and clumsily around my waist, creating a loud thump as I fall to the ground.  The tools weigh me down and leave me grounded wherever I have fallen.  Where I sit, there I am stuck.  I lift my eyes towards where I wished I had landed instead – a cushioned seat, a place with a better vantage point, a spot in the company of friends.  My body pulses and aches, and the distance between where I sit and where I wish I sat grows further and further.

Cease,” the psalmist says.  “Cease your action. Halt your cause.  Have you taken up that which is not yours?  Remember: when you choose a role that is not your own, the tool belt weighs too heavy.  When you attempt to be The Creator, you no longer can create.  You are no longer free to be a servant of God’s, you are a servant of your own vision.

Drop the hammer, the nail gun, the sander, the heavy to-do list.
Unfasten the belt until it drops fully onto the ground.

The weight of it all quakes the ground. and my soul magnifies its new lightweight state.

Take refuge here before you stand again.  Your bones will be weak but they are intact.  They will hold.  But wait for a moment before you move.  Wait for a few or for a thousand.  Wait until you sense the nearness of the True, Tender Contractor – the One who distributes the work that is building the real Creator’s vision.”

I wait.  As I wait, I sleep, falling into a deep slumber.  Perhaps it is best to rest here for awhile.

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