God Quietly Came
DECEMBER 24, 2020
A few years ago, I taught, as I often do, at The Billy Graham Training Center (The Cove) in the mountains of North Carolina and stayed in one of their log cabins up on the mountain overlooking the natural cove.
The log cabins are closed except to authorized personnel and they’re in a very secluded area. In fact, some speakers refuse to stay there because of the bears and being so far away from other people (I generally like bears better than people…or at least some people.) That particular week I was the only one “up on the mountain.”
I saw two reindeer.
Well, maybe not reindeer, but deer.
It was early in the morning and I went out on the log cabin’s porch to smoke my pipe. I was surprised to see two deer. They didn’t run . . . They just stood there quietly looking at me. For a good 5-10 minutes, we just looked back at one another.
Then, maybe because they got bored and didn’t like the smell of my pipe tobacco, they just turned and walked off into the forest.
It was one of those rare and profound moments when it’s quiet enough “to hear the soft sound of sandaled feet.” Time stands still and in that stillness, God comes. In the crispness of the early morning, I had a “God takes care of the lilies and the birds” kind of feeling. It was the quiet recognition that he is in charge, he loves me, and everything will be okay.
A lot of what I do causes anxiety in me. Actually, most of what I do scares the spit out of me. I worry that I’ll screw it up and make a fool of myself. I fear that people will find out I’m not nearly as good or as spiritual, or know as much as they thought. I’ve been called to speak a message that, for some reason, irritates people, and I have this desire to be liked. It goes on and on.
And then there’s the economy and the coronavirus . . . to say nothing of the world’s incredible divisions and hatreds, and the really hard stuff some of the people I love are going through.
But there on that mountain that morning in the quiet and looking at those deer, I knew and I was at rest. God quietly came. I realized that he is totally sufficient for every need, he is fond of me, and he is “working all things out for good.” I remembered what Jesus said, “‘Look at the birds of the air [and the deer]: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious . . . your heavenly Father knows . . . But seek first the kingdom of God . . . ’” (Mathew 6:26, 30-33).
That’s what the incarnation was all about. It was first spoken to shepherds who were on their own mountain of sorts. While it wasn’t deer for them, but sheep, the message was the same:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Some of you are going through hard stuff and it’s difficult to find the joy.
Remember . . . Jesus loves you. He is in charge. And everything will be okay.
So as you rest in him, Merry Christmas.
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