I ask God to give me the words he wants me to speak for him.
How can we come to know God? As I prayed and meditated on this reflection on a late November morning, I thought about the approach of the Advent season. It’s always been a big part of my life. Advent, for me, is hope—something that brings and gives hope. With the year we’ve had, it hasn’t been easy to hope. We hear stories, we read the news, we know people who have been affected by COVID-19. I know there are a lot of different questions people have: “When is this virus going to end?” “Will it ever end?” “Is the world ending?”
In the midst of these questions, I have seen people rely on God now more than ever. There are times, in our own community, when there are families in need. In this past year, one of the things I’ve noticed is that so many people give. For a while, we had donation requests within our community two or three times per week, and all of those times people didn’t hesitate. Different people all came together and gave what they could. I notice that people pay attention to each other more, too, acknowledging each other more. Here, we’re not allowed to travel in and out as we please (we are told to stay in the community for precautionary measures), but people approach me, and I talk with them. I find I make more time to do things that I don’t normally do every day— because we can, for the moment.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, one of the verses that has stayed with me is Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” That verse is powerful, when you think about it. No matter what’s happening in the world and no matter what’s happening in a person’s life, God is always there with you. It’s one of the verses that I have always reflected on.
I think God is speaking to everyone and wants us to turn to him and rely on him— even with everything that’s going on right now. No matter who they are or where they come from, “Be still and know me” is what I believe he is saying to everyone. I believe he will show us what he can do—the amazing things he can do.
A lot of people I know sometimes feel hopeless and helpless. I believe God is telling us to calm down. “Be still. I will show you. You will see what I can do for you. Allow me.”
* * *
My husband passed away back in 2014. During our time together, we led very different lifestyles, destructive lifestyles. Both of us lived with addiction. He had his own addiction, and I had mine—from unresolved trauma that he went through as child, and unresolved trauma that I went through as a child. My husband was one of the victims of Ralph Rowe, a pedophile priest, when he was about six years old. I knew he was always carrying something but that he couldn’t say what it was. I didn’t know until maybe three years before he passed away, when he disclosed it to me.
I suffered through sexual abuse, myself, as a child. Most of our lives, I lived with addiction and so did he. When he passed away, I knew if I continued to live the way I was living, I wouldn’t make it. I knew— something told me that I needed to make a decision, and not just for me. We have a daughter who’s 23 now. I had to make a decision.
And I did. I made a choice. Along the way, I started communicating and praying ANGLICAN VOICES4 with God. I got up and made the choice to follow and to serve him, to rely on him. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming when you give him access to your life, to your heart. He has shown me blessing after blessing. With the lifestyle I led, and to be where I’m at now—he deserves all the praise and all the glory. I am alive today on this earth because of God, because of Jesus, because of what he has done for me. I can’t say enough about all the things that he has shown me and the blessings he gives me. It’s unending. I can’t say enough of this.
We come to know God because he reveals himself in these ways. I love the part of Exodus where Moses leads the people through the Red Sea, with the pharaoh and his army behind them. They came up to the Red Sea, and they didn’t know where to go. There was no way out, nowhere to run. Nowhere. It looked so impossible, seen with human eyes. And right there, God showed them: “Look what I can do. I will take care of you.” And there, God revealed himself, and that he can do the impossible. Amen.
And that’s what he has done for me, too. He reveals and shows me that he can remove the bondage of addiction, no matter how deep. No matter how hopeless and helpless you feel, he can change you if you allow him. He has the power to remove the bondage, the pain, the suffering you carry in your heart. He can restore anything—no matter how big, no matter how painful it us.
If you are in any kind of pain, bondage or suffering as this year begins, know this: you’re never alone, no matter what you’re going through in your life. Jesus is always there, waiting and willing to help you. His timing is always right. When you give him access to your life and your heart, he will guide you and show you the way to where he wants you to be. He knows our every need. He knows even before we ask.
I leave you with two verses that speak to me about knowing God.
The first is James 5:8:
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
This touches me and makes me want to be ready, even in the midst of all the chaos that’s going on around us or just daily life. Sometimes my work can be hard, dealing with families and children in crisis, and sometimes I need to be still, sit down and pray.
The second is from Psalm 121:6:
“The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life.”
And he does. I believe he does. For everyone.
Naomi Beaver lives in Big Beaverhouse, Ont., and is a server at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Kingfisher Lake.