I knew when I saw this combination of stoplights and stop signs they were more than a message to me as a driver.
Two red flashing lights hung over me and stop signs faced me –
on each side of the road.
This was not a normal intersection.
I didn’t really understand the importance of such a warning until I was passing through this same crossing of roads on my way home.
As I stopped and then began to go again,
a car flew by in front of me on the crossing road.
That’s when I realized there was no stop sign for people traveling the other way.
Stopping, for me, was critical.
Getting the attention of drivers at this intersection was the difference between life and death.
God got Job’s attention in a similar way.
Placed him at a crossroads with double flashing lights and two stop signs.
Sat him down.
Made him think.
Facing his own stuff wasn’t easy.
Job’s friends had not trouble rambling on, though,
barely taking a breath between their many words of advice.
Job realized he would be just like them if he hadn’t been stopped right in his tracks.
In Job 16:1-6, he says,
I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
There’s something about facing pain head – on that changes how you react to someone else’s heartache.
Job knew if he hadn’t been placed in the ashes his words would have been no different than his friends.
But since his life had come to a crashing halt and grief was now one of his closest friends,
he knew his words would be different if a friend were forced onto this same road.
“Comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”
Job could only learn about pain by facing it.
And I think I can only learn about mine by facing it too.
Jennie Allen asked this question in my morning reading of her book,
“What if we just stop?”
“What if we wake up?”
And my other morning reading
(Wherever You Go There You Are)
included the statement,
“A good way to stop all the “doing” is to shift into the “being” mode for a moment.”
Maybe that’s why my granddaughter loved our tea party so much last night.
Delayed passports and visas have kept them at our home two extra weeks.
Saturday we say goodbye until Christmas and she and her parents head to France.
So last night we stopped.
She and my two daughter-in-laws and I sat around the table and drank hot pumpkin tea and ate homemade scones.
We used real china and I pulled out a hand – knitted table covering made by own grandmother.
A woman in my life story who never had trouble stopping anything to spend time with me.
She taught me how much family matters,
and I always knew her ear had time for my words.
I want to be the same kind of MiMi to my little Elaine.
I never want to be too busy for her.
As I was thinking this morning about the art of “stopping,”
I remembered a therapy session with a little girl a few days ago.
We took a short walk,
found a few rocks,
and brought them in to the school to paint.
As we sat there talking,
all of the stuff in her life that is not-so-good melted away as she happily chose her favorite colors and even asked about mine.
Life stopped long enough for her to just “be.”
I think that’s what we need every day too.
Time to stop and just “be.”
Maybe that’s why I love taking photographs so much.
There’s something about pulling myself out of a moment long enough to capture it that helps me “be” in the moment in a deeper way.
Today, I hope each of you who read this have time to simply stop.
Lean back in your chair.
Close your eyes for a few seconds or minutes.
And just “be.”
Breathe in slowly and exhale even more slowly.
Soak up the feeling of knowing who you are and whose you are.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
That’s what He was talking about.
Stopping long enough to know.
You are His.
And He is here.