Frassati Reflection: Keep Still

The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.
—Exodus 14:14

IMG_5245This is one of my favorite Bible verses; I’ve written about it before. When I read it today, it brought to mind the experience of skiing down a mountain (perhaps I’m pining for colder weather in the midst of this summer heat).

Now, obviously, downhill skiing doesn’t exactly involve keeping still, but it does involve being calm and serene amid a rush of motion. Both in life and in skiing, gritting our teeth and bracing ourselves for a rough ride will only guarantee one. We need to be present and alert, yes, but in order to truly fly, we need to be loose and relaxed. It’s less about asserting our own will and more about cooperating with the rhythm of the mountain, being adaptable enough to take on each bump and turn in the trail. Great skiers are attentive to the path ahead and respond accordingly—they don’t bulldoze recklessly down the mountain, nor do they steel themselves in trepidation the whole way down. As they choose the direction they take, they are aware of how their surroundings might affect their plans—if they encounter an icy patch, they change their technique and slow down; if they find a trail blocked off, they take a detour.

In our lives, we have an Advocate who will guide us through every turn. Instead of worrying excessively or trying to micromanage situations that are beyond our control, we ought to relax and trust in the One Who is leading us. He desires our good and will pick us back up and dust us off every time we fall. With God leading us, there is no need to white-knuckle our way through life.

I know these principles in theory, but in practice they are sometimes hard to remember. Some days my fears overwhelm me, and I resist every slight detour from my own plans. Other days I stubbornly force my own will without discerning whether it’s truly the best course. But I strive to reach a level of trust in God that will allow me to glide smoothly down the mountain of my life, soaking in the view as I go.

***

Bonus analogy!

When I was four years old, I slipped and fell while running around the house in socks and got a bad cut on my head that needed stitches. In the doctor’s office, I was so upset that I resisted everything they tried to do to help me. They couldn’t get me to keep still long enough to have the stitches put in. After one attempt that involved me kicking the doctor, they strapped me down to a papoose board to try and get me to keep still. While I was strapped to the board, I threw up on the doctor—I’m sure that made his day. The whole thing would have been a lot easier and quicker if I had cooperated with the doctor, but instead it became a long, drawn-out fiasco. I needed the doctor to treat me, but in my distress I didn’t trust that his plan of sticking a needle in my forehead was really the best idea. The plans of our Heavenly Doctor, too, might not always make sense to us in the moment, but we can always trust Him to take care of us and heal us, and it will be a lot easier and less painful if we cooperate with His grace.


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