“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
Many mornings I pray seated directly across from this scene I can only ask you to imagine: a credenza on which sits an Amish fireplace, several houseplants on both sides, and a candle holder that reminds me (and the saint who gifted it to me) of the symbolic oak tree of righteousness mentioned in Isaiah 61. Seated in front of the fireplace is the sign “BE STILL & KNOW.” It holds center place and is unavoidable. It speaks to me of a rhythm unnatural to me, and certainly not of my making.
In recent months because of vocational changes (and increasing age), I’ve become more sensitive to my own rhythms of life. I’m trying, as best I can, to be considerate about what gets my attention. If I’m not careful, I can easily let my plate become filled with responsibility…and I’m supposed to be “semi-retired.” Sometimes the opportunities for ministry just call, and I have to be careful to discern whether that is GOD’s call or my own tendency to see a void and try to fill it.
I DON’T NEED TO CARPE SOMEONE ELSE’S DIEM
In addition to the things within my control, there are the things beyond my control that grab my attention. Some of them cause upset, inner disturbance, frustration and anger; and I want to do something about it and can’t. There is a temptation to simmer and stew as a result of this inability, to allow what’s inside to grow and fester. There is a temptation to express the depth of my feeling, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
But then I’m reminded about the cost of discipleship. “For you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Cor. 6:20, NIV). “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world” (1 Cor. 7:23, NLT).
Sometimes, we need reminders to slow down and release the reigns. That includes slowing down enough to recall (and even celebrate) that the reign of GOD and His victory is sure. That is the essence of Psalm 46. Even in a tumultuous world where responsibilities never seem to end or where emotions can rage and confusion and uncertainty seem omnipresent, we are secure in our position in GOD through Jesus Christ. We don’t (I don’t) need to always be in the business of “fixing” things. The connotation of “Be still and know” is to cease from striving and fretting over the tumult around us that seems far beyond our control, relax a little, and recognize (recall, grasp, experience) that GOD really is GOD. Things may look out-of-control, but they only look that way.
Our greatest responsibility and need is to find our center in Him rather than in the swirling world that seems a constant presence. We can only find our center in Him by the discipline of letting go of the world and the things in it that would otherwise consume us, and reattaching ourselves to Him in the quiet of stillness. This is not GOD’s permission to be irresponsible or lazy; it is more akin to when Jesus instructed His disciples to “come ye apart” (Mark 6:31) for a time of rest away from the press of constant responsibility and constant challenge. In stillness we fine rest; in knowing we find strength.
This is a rhythm not of man. We had to be instructed to take a Sabbath rest; and many still struggle with it, viewing it as wasted, unproductive time. Others I know are put-off by their difficulty keeping their thoughts from running rampant and interfering with any attempts at stillness. And yet I believe that true knowing of GOD requires times of purposeful stillness, and therefore is a habit worth cultivating no matter the challenges or the ways it bumps-up against our other habits or preferences. It is, after all, a GOD-ordained rhythm of life.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2019. All rights reserved to text content.