Be Still, Just Listen

7 01 2018

Last month my Lady and I traveled up north from our home to hear a young man perform who is very close to our hearts. Joe used to live in Chicago where he became Rock _ngood friends with our son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and Bekah. Jer and Joe spent a great amount of time playing music together but more importantly, creating a bonding friendship that goes on to this day. Joe would travel to any venue, large or small for the opportunity to play his songs and get his name known. It wasn’t long that Chicago could no longer keep this hidden talent to themselves. Today he is seen as one of the top performers in folk music as well as being called by many the best song writer in the business. From driving 100 miles to play free in a record shop for a small crowd, he has performed all over the world and worked with the likes of Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, Steve Earle, Levon Helm and Elvis Costello. So on this night Joe was on the tail end of his latest tour once again playing at a folk club in Goshen. He texted and invited us to be his guests, and we knew we couldn’t miss it.

The second Joe took the stage we recognized our young talented friend. But from the youngster who used to perform in worn out jeans and a dirty pair of work boots there now stood a man articulate in his looks, words and music. The show was tremendous as he belted out tunes from previous CDs as well as new numbers that he would soon be releasing. He flowed smoothly song to song, taking time to speak to the audience in the same creative way as his music; intelligent, entertaining as well as amusing. The sound system that carried his gift out to the listeners was amazing as his voice, guitar, harmonica and piano filled the room with the overwhelming rhapsody of all-encompassing melody. But then Joe did something, not once but twice, that is uncommon for a performer. He would shut off the feed to his guitar, step away from the mic and move to the front edge of the stage, singing and playing without the aid of amplification. Smiling to myself I thought Joe must me reliving some of his younger days when at times this was the way he had to sing to crowds. Then it struck me, that wasn’t his purpose at all. Without the sound system the music and his voice were softer and to hear you had to sit as still as possible, completely listening. That’s what he wanted, that was his purpose. These were not just songs he had written for entertainment purpose, these were messages from his heart, matters that he valued and deeply desired to share with everyone there. And you could have heard a pin drop. It was days later that the thought occurred to me, “Joe, young brother, you did exactly what God desires to do with each of us.”

One of my favorite verses is Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” So what does that mean? Is it saying if you find a quiet place to be all by yourself, void of all outside interference God will softly whisper in your ear all that He has for you? Well, I’m no theologian and I firmly believe in having quiet moments between me and the Creator of the universe, but that doesn’t appear to be what the verse is saying. In the daily rush we’re all going to have those moments when things are not going well, happiness seems far off and troubles appear to prevail at every corner. Those are the times many cry out, “God, where are you? Help me!!” then quickly dash back into the problems still weighted down with worry as they try to work things out by themselves. I know this to be true because I’ve been just as guilty as anyone. So as I’ve studied and pondered the words, “Be still and know that I am God,” I conclude that the Lord is saying, “Why do you spend all your time in worry? Why do you listen to the voice of doom and gloom? Why do you not earnestly come to me for guidance and peace? I’m here and I’m waiting on you, because I love you.”  Author and fellow blogger Jackie Trottmann points out, “The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, surrender. The chapter begins and ends with God is our refuge.” Friends and Family, I can truthfully  say, when I stopped facing difficulties alone and sought God through His Word, prayer, and other believers that problems no longer dominated who I was. They might have still been there for a time; but by turning them down and turning God up, fear and anguish was replaced with joy and peace. As our Savior, Christ called out to the waves, “Peace, be still!” so too He calls out to the storm that can rage in us, “Be Still, and know I am God.

Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

As our friend Joe quieted the audience so that they could accurately listen to his songs, God calls to each of you “Travelers of the Rock Road” to stop for a moment and listen to what He softly has to tell you. It just might be the most important whisper you’ve ever heard.

See ya next time.


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8 01 2018
Jeff Bonnell

Love your stories and insight John ! Thank you for sharing

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