What a Guest Speaker Taught Me About the Burning Bush and Being Still
Last Sunday at church we had a guest speaker by the name of Joe Boyd. Joe was a pastor then an actor then a pastor again and now an actor/producer. He just filmed a movie called A Strange Brand of Happy, so he stopped by our church talk to us about it and share some stuff from his life. Somewhere in his talk, which was pretty excellent, he got onto the topic of the burning bush.
The burning bush is one of the most famous miracles in the Bible. Basically Moses saw a bush on fire and approached it to find out why it wasn’t burning up. When he got closer God started to speak to him from the bush, and the rest is history. Joe said that Moses would never have noticed the burning bush if he hadn’t been staring at it for so long. And isn’t that the same thing as being still?
Then it occurred to me, Moses was kind of an expert at being still. Those 40 years he spent as a shepherd prepared him for the 40 years that he would be leading the Israelites through the desert. Not a single moment of it sounds all that fun, but if there’s one thing that Moses learned, it was how to be still. Apparently he was so good at being still that the Israelites gave up on him and had time to actually build a statue of a calf out of gold in the time that it took Moses to return from one of his little solo retreats.
The same thing stood out to me about Elisha. Elisha was a weird dude. He was a prophet in Old Testament times that we read about in the book of 2 Kings, and he did weird things like smother a boy and put his fingers in the child’s eyes to bring him back to life (it worked). When I saw the trailor for A Strange Brand of Happy, I imagined Elisha being kind of like the poet in the movie – a little out there, but totally cool.
I was listening to his story in bed the other morning on the youversion app.
Later that day, I realized he must have also been an expert at being still. He was a professional prophet. His job was to hear from God. This was before any of us had access to God’s voice in our life due to the Holy Spirit. But the point is, he couldn’t have done that if he wasn’t spending significant amounts of time being still.
Both Moses and Elisha carved out major time in their schedules for being still. And out of that stillness some major miracles were born. Most likely they weren’t the kind of miracles that everyone in town instantly heard about. Probably they were the kind of miracles that only those involved ever knew about until they were written down. My guess is if I were to slow down, and carve out more time for being still, I’d find that what Joe Boyd said is right. The biggest miracles are the ones that I can see only when I look at them long enough and often times hearing the voice of God really is just about stopping long enough to hear.
Original photo by JK Model from morguefile.com. Adapted by Stephanie Oh.