“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 ESV). This short passage of scripture is so easy to commit to memory and so hard to remember to apply in everyday life. It goes along with “trust in the Lord with all your heart” as a verse that God brings to my attention over and over. It happened again yesterday (from a small bookmark tucked unobtrusively in the corner of a mirror) and when it did, I knew I needed to write about this simple but profound truth today.
It is so easy to get caught up in fretting about large and small things. In Psalm 46, the context is major upheavals such as war. We too may become concerned about many things including large scale political, social and economic issues and their implications both for the fabric of society and for us personally and our offspring. Often, we are concerned about personal issues including relationships, work, school, how to cope with the challenges of our current stage of life, losses of various kinds, health, money and so on. These things can preoccupy us and cause a sense of unsettledness and anxiety.
Constantly being exposed to outside stimulation from modern media can distract us from the kind of quiet that we need to be still and know that the Lord is God. This verse reminds us that all our concerns need to be given to the Lord and our main job is to learn to rest in Him—that He is indeed God and He alone can bear the weight of the world and all our individual and corporate struggles. He alone knows how He will work all things together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28). This does not mean we are to be passive about life and to adopt a lethargic, “whatever” sort of attitude. But it does mean we are to have a different inner attitude about things which is not marked by fussing and fuming.
How can we be free from these inner and outer stresses and distractions that we all experience? Take time to be still and know that He is God. The New American Standard version of the Bible translates this passage as “cease striving and know that I am God.” Yet in the book of Hebrews (4:11), it says “strive to enter His rest”. The question is where do we put our effort? Is it in trying to figure everything out and trying to be or feel in control of every area of life? Or is our greatest goal to rest in God’s presence—to be still and know that He is God. Jesus said of Mary of Bethany that in sitting at Jesus’ feet in His presence listening to Him, she had chosen the best part.
It is in these times of turning to Jesus and letting go of all our concerns and resting in Him that we can receive His love and grace which will guide us, sustain us, heal us and sanctify us. One of the ways I find I can be still in the Lord’s Presence and receive is in quiet and contemplative reading of His word and other Christian writings. So I offer this writing to you in the hope that this will help you even now to enter his Rest and receive from Him.
With love and prayers,
Listening to music that draws me into the Lord’s Presence and letting it wash over me also helps me to be still and receive. May the following selection be a blessing to you.