Several years ago, my wife wanted to get backyard chickens, and I fought it. I thought the idea was crazy. We live in the city—in the suburbs. Chickens? Really? But she wore me down. And it’s been one of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made. Our kids love them. They’ve named them. And through feeding them, collecting their eggs, and scooping up their poop, my daughters have learned all kinds of things about daily responsibility.
One of the most significant experiences with owning chickens came on the day a dog jumped our back fence and killed two of our hens. My daughters’ hearts were broken. I disposed of the bodies, and that night we had a chicken funeral. We went around the dinner table, each sharing our favorite memories of Rebekah and Matilda. We’re not the most sentimental family, but we still grieved. I can remember sitting on the bed that evening with my youngest while she cried. She needed her dad to help her find rest.
A mentor of mine once told me, “Life is full of unfinished symphonies.” It’s true. In this fallen world, things are always falling apart. We face cancer, lost jobs, and disability. Hopes and dreams are deferred. Loved ones die. But even when we feel life’s brokenness more than we’ve ever felt it before, God is still with us. We can patiently bear our cross of grief and pain, because He is on our side.
Jesus calls us to come to Him with our griefs and fears. He wants to bear our burdens and quiet our souls. When I feel anxious, grieved, and oppressed, my tendency is either to run to my friends or to make myself busy in order to distract myself from worry. This isn’t wrong, but Psalm 62 reminds me of my need to first bring my griefs to my Father, just as my little girl brought hers to me. We find true rest in God alone; our hope comes from Him. People and things will always let us down, but God remains faithful.
This can be hard to trust when we experience loss and injustice. (I mean, sometimes we just want to be mad at the neighbors’ dog!) We can’t always trace out what God is doing, but we know that He orders and provides. Rest and hope are found in remembering His power and providence over all of life’s storms (Luke 8:22-25). One day, He’ll show us the end of the symphony He’s been writing for us. He’ll correct the prevailing forms of injustice we experience in this world. And for His people, Jesus will repay—from His own fullness—all that was previously taken away (Isaiah 61:3).
Written by Jared Kennedy
Be Still, My Soul
Original Text: Katrina von Schlegel, 1752
Translation: Jane Borthwick, 1855
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
in ev’ry change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice, Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the veil of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.