My Son, The Noise Police

mark 4

The noise police.

That’s my two-year-old’s job.

His oldest sister hops in the minivan at the end of the school day and pulls out her recorder for some practice time.

He hears one note, just one note, and he slips his finger up to his lips and says, “Shhhh.  Pease stop it.”  Then he tosses a look her way that commands attention even if he is 8 years younger than she is.

Someone dares to sing along with the radio in the car?

Oh no!  Noise violation. Cited by the noise police.

This toddler will immediately tell you to “Pease stop it.  PEASE stop it.”  And he’ll repeat that message louder and louder until all such violators refrain from singing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re off-key or if you’re a Broadway superstar, if you’re singing, he’s going to ask you to stop.

He shouts for car alarms to “Pease stop it” in the Wal-Mart parking lot and he commands that construction sounds cease when he hears saws and hammers.

This tiny powerhouse assumes that all noise is within his power to control.  He expects instant silence when he says the magic phrase.

At the sound of “Pease stop it” all noise must end.

Of course, it very rarely works that way, which my son doesn’t appreciate.

His sisters insist on singing or talking or playing.

Car alarms keep alarming.  Construction workers keep constructing.

He can say “Pease stop it” all he wants; it doesn’t mean anything truly stops at all.

But I appreciate his effort.  I understand the desire.

Haven’t I shouted “Please stop it” myself  more than a few times when I wanted that conflict with someone else to end….or that situation to finally be resolved?

When I felt tossed around by circumstances out of my control and I just wanted quiet and calm already, no more noisy turmoil and roar of turbulence and strife, I wanted to yell, “Please stop!  Stop the relentless confusion or hurt or tension or stress or uncertainty!”

Yet, even when my greatest efforts at control fail, Jesus can speak the Word.  He can demand that the storm “be still” and it must obey.

He speaks and that is enough.

In Luke 8, I read how he calmed that stormy sea and how the winds and the waves obeyed his command.

But in that same chapter, I read how he calmed a different kind of storm, not just the physical tempest, not actual winds and actual waves, not circumstances that threaten to drown us.

He calmed the storm within.

With the sea now peaceful, the disciples crossed to the other side, where Jesus found a man possessed by demons who ran naked among the tombs and could not be contained by human chains.

Jesus “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man” and at that Word, the man was redeemed and restored (Luke 8:29 ESV).

Sheila Walsh writes in Five Minutes with Jesus:

“I love that the stories of Jesus calming the storm and Jesus freeing the demoniac are back-to-back.  Whether a storm is raging in outside circumstances or inside your heart, when Jesus speaks to it, that storm has to obey.”

Two storms.  One without.  One within.

Jesus calmed them both, back-to-back, by the power of His Word.

I am surely weary of wrestling with the ropes on a storm-tossed ship.  I’ve tried everything to calm the wind and waves on my own, every tool, every trick, every skill within my expertise.

I’ve shouted, “Pease stop it!”  but the storm still storms.

Yet, this is what I know.

At any moment, Jesus could rise up and command, “Peace!” and there would be calm and there would be deliverance.

It’s true about the stress and uncertainty, the doubt, the depression, the anxiety and worry, the fear and the desperate need to control what we face within.

It’s true in the relational conflicts and interpersonal fights, the financial shortfalls, the job stresses, and the health scares that we face without.

Whether we face storms internally or externally, when Jesus declares, “Peace” the noise will end.

But in the meantime, I choose faith because I am never too far for Him to rescue me.  No circumstances are beyond His ability to control.

Somehow just the reminder that He is the Word and that His Word is all that is needed to rescue me gives me rest even before the storm ceases and even before the noise ends.

 

 

Are You Talking to Me?

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I thought the note was for some other mom.

Years ago, my daughter toted a note home from preschool.  Now that they had all learned their phone numbers, they were working on their address.  Could we please practice at home?

I reviewed our address with my four-year-old until she could rattle it off like a pro.

At the end of the month, we received a new note.  They’ll be studying spring,  plants, and working on their spring program and, by the way, some kids still didn’t know their address….could we please practice with them at home?

I asked my daughter to say her address.

She said it.

I nodded my head approvingly.

This note must be for some other mom.

In April, notes came home every few weeks…about spring break and final plans for the year and what they were learning now and preparations for Easter parties and the spring program and oh, one more thing, could the children who still didn’t know their addresses please make sure they learned them?

Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Some parents!  You know?

But then in May, I sat at the tiny table with my body squeezed into a preschooler-sized blue plastic chair and had a conference with my daughter’s teacher.  She hands me the assessment sheet with checkmarks everywhere.  Your child can do all of this….but she can’t say her address.

I’m sorry.  What?

Apparently, that note had been for me all along.  I called my daughter over to the table and she recited her address flawlessly in just over a second and then ran off to play.

I guess all along they’d been asking my daughter if she could say her address and she just told them, ‘no.’

So, the notes home could have had my name written all over them.  They were meant for me!  And I had moseyed along on my oblivious way thinking surely my child had gotten her little box checked off.

Sometimes, we need notes and faith and life to be monogrammed with our initials before we realize it’s for us.

We can look at the Bible, we can see what God did and what He’s doing and we can think He’s wonderfully compassionate, powerful and yet full of mercy, for the world and for everyone else in the world.

But then it gets personal.

The disciples tagged along after Jesus as He healed the crowds. Lepers and the lame, the demon-possessed and those wrecked with pain came to Him for rescue and He performed the miracles.

My Bible marks the book of Matthew with newspaper headlines:  Jesus Heals The Sick.  Jesus Heals Many.  Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.

Jesus changed lives for lots of people.

But then it got personal for the 12 rag-tag followers.

When Jesus went off to pray, He sent them on ahead to cross the lake on their own.  In the middle of the night, he came out to them, walking on the water.

Peter jumped out of the boat and took steps out onto the sea….and then sank when he saw the wind and felt afraid.

But as soon as Jesus lifted Peter up and they slipped into the boat, the wind ceased.  The storm calmed.  The sea rested.

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33).

Then…they worshiped.

Max Lucado writes:

They had never, as a group, done that before.  Never…….You won’t find them worshiping when he heals the leper.  Forgives the adulteress.  Preaches to the masses.  They were willing to follow.  Willing to leave family  Willing to cast out demons.  Willing to be in the army.  But only after the incident on the sea did they worship him.  Why?  Simple.  This time they were the ones who were saved.”  (In the Eye of the Storm)

Faith has to be personal and intimate.

Sometimes, I confess it, I slip into the humdrum and the mundane and the complacency of religion.

But then God rescues me from the storm.  He comes close and draws near.  He whispers my name.

This is for you.

Not just everyone else.  Not just other moms, other wives, other women.

Not just for the whole world.  Not just for the crowd.

This, dear one, is for you.

And the worship that I’d been offering by rote and by habit transforms into heartfelt praise and all-out abandon.

Because, after all, I am the one who is saved.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King