This is a guest post by my daughter, Abby McIntyre, who is a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University. This post was originally published on the website for Living Streams Church where she works as a children’s ministry assistant.
“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”Luke 19:37-40
I have vivid childhood memories of those built-in water dispensers that you find on the doors of many refrigerators. My family never had one, but a lot of family friends did and a visit to their house meant water from the fridge door. The reason the memories are so vivid: it takes a long time for one of those dispensers to fill a cup. It’s probably different for a grown-up, but 10-15 seconds of watching water fall into a cup was a looong time for me as a thirsty elementary schooler. The anticipation was really killer.
On a much grander scale than fridge water, life has been forcefully slow recently. Chances are you’ve recently found yourself with excess amounts of time to feel the anxious anticipation surrounding COVID-19. Maybe you’ve finished all the house projects that you had on the docket and caught up on the episodes of your show. Or maybe you’re just itching to get past this time of being home all the time. Ready for the waiting time to end. Businesses, churches, and families are right there with you—waiting, waiting, waiting to find out what the next few months will look like.
My challenge: find something beautiful to look at while you wait. Step outside at night and notice the stars above your house. Go for a walk and watch families of quail, ducks, or ants looking for food together. Turn off your phone and focus your full attention on family game night. Maybe even pick up the dusty instrument that sits in the corner of your living room and listen to the notes ring out. Focus on the rhythm of your own breath. God made your lungs to do that, how great is He?
When Jesus entered Jerusalem and his disciples cried out in praise, religious leaders told him that the disciples should be quiet. Jesus responded by saying that if the disciples were to stay quiet, the rocks on the ground would begin to cry out His praise. That if no one were to speak, the stones would still say “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
I believe that when we slow down and listen—even if the “slowing down” is imposed on us by a global pandemic and a stay-at-home order—the small and quiet things around us can become small and quiet ways of spending time with God. An anxious, “let’s get this over with already” moment becomes a beautiful and gentle time to reconnect to God, self, and breath. Then—it’s cool—we get to join in with the rocks and stars and ants as they sing their song of praise to Him. Look around you in the slowness and the quiet (and the anxiety!) and listen to the song that echoes in nature and in beauty: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Now, since I’ve gotten older, when I use a fridge-door water dispenser at a friend’s house (pre-quarantine!), I have an easier time waiting through the 10-15 seconds of thirsty anticipation. I don’t tap my foot or think about how much I wish the waiting was over. Instead, I look at all the sweet pictures and thank you cards and wedding invites they’ve hung there, or I listen to the sound of the water falling into the cup. A waiting moment turned to a quiet observation of my surroundings and deep hope that the moment I’m anticipating will arrive soon enough. There is peace in Heaven and there are beautiful things to be noticed in the waiting time.