My father was not gifted in working with tools so I did not develop skills many boys, and I would hope girls, are taught when it comes to using drills and other power tools or the basics on how to build things. I have learned a little bit from others through the years, and I can do some basic tasks to care for my home. But, I do minimal building, as I am not gifted in any way in this area.
About ten years ago I bought a chain saw to use on our property up north. I don’t like my chainsaw. It scares me to use it. But I have learned how to use it safely, and this past summer I spent some significant time thinning out small trees on our land. While it is not my favorite thing to do, it was good to get the work done and the chainsaw makes it light work.
I had an issue with the chainsaw as I worked with it. The idle was quite high. Now, as I stated before, I don’t have a clue about how to fix things like this. So every time I finished cutting and pulled back the bar that stopped the chain, the engine would rev up significantly. The sound was very unpleasant both to me and, I suspect, my neighbors. But I couldn’t do anything about it. So every time I stopped sawing, the engine would just climb in pitch and roar.
I thought about my saw this week as I watched the news and followed the growing pitch of the revved up rhetoric from the campaign trail. I thought about it as I fielded phone calls and emails related to the church, both local and global, questioning where we are going and the struggles of these days.
And as the sound grows in its intensity, I find that if I’m not careful, my “engine” begins to rev up too! If I’m not careful my insides and sometimes my outsides begin to stir too. Maybe the same thing happens to you? Maybe, like me, you find it hard to slow that response down. Maybe you, like me, find yourself acting and reacting in ways that surprise you, not knowing how to stop it.
What I am trying to do, some days more successfully than others, is to pay attention to what’s happening in my soul. I’m trying to pay attention when I feel that revving up beginning to occur in me. And when it does, I’m trying to turn to prayer. I’m trying to invite God’s Spirit to lead me toward God’s peace, to help me to breathe, and to quote that beautiful Biblical word, “Be still and know that God is God.”
I don’t know where your “rev” level is these days. But if it is slipping into that high rpm level, let me invite you to join me in seeking to remember that God is still God, and God offers us a Peace that passes understanding, that goes beyond circumstance. I invite you ─ as you begin to hear that high pitched whine start to spin in you ─ to pause, take a breath, and lean into God, where there is rest and peace beyond measure.