With a steaming cup of tea in my favorite mug and an open Bible, I turned to a fresh page in my journal and prepared to take advantage of an empty and quiet house. Funny how stillness without is no guarantee of stillness within. A dozen tasks on my to-do list suddenly began competing for the top slot. My phone pinged a reminder of the great wide world of interaction I might be missing. Worst of all, the inability to corral my undisciplined brain took the lead in a parade of faults and failures that taunted my good intentions there at the dining room table.
If you’ve sat in that particular chair before, Patsy Burnette shares the great good news that no matter where you are or where you’ve been, stillness of heart and soul is a gift from God that comes to those who trust for it and wait for it. The Heart That Heals is her story as well as her affirmation that God stands firmly and faithfully behind his promises of comfort and strength.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Burnette experienced this truth first hand when, as a young mum, her eighteen-year-old sister died in a tragic car accident. Making a conscious choice to reject bitterness and self- pity, she has invested her energy instead in the slow process of knowing God. On the journey, she has learned the painful truth that the waters do indeed rise and the flames may come close enough to singe us, but the power of God endures:
He is with you through the waters.
The rivers will not overwhelm you.
The flames of heartbreak and trouble will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
The Source of Stillness
By grace, stillness will come as God lives alongside us and as he gives us strength to move outside our own pain to offer help to a friend or to pray someone else through a dark season. Therefore, Patsy writes with the goal of helping her readers, but also with the hope of equipping each of us to become helpers.
The truth that runs like a ribbon through Scripture is that “tribulation is inevitable,” but “peace is available.” (64) If this irony is news to you, Burnette prescribes a strong dose of John 16 truth, the words of Jesus to his disciples in one of their last conversations before his arrest and crucifixion:
“I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Acceptance of divinely appointed circumstances is God’s anodyne for the painful happenings. The stillness he brings to the chaos is a path of peace through storm.
Acknowledging my own inability to swim, sprint, fight, connect the dots, or crack the code to find peace on my own terms is the first step toward “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” It is this circumference that defines the still center where the healing heart finds rest.
May this peace be yours today,
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