Here’s the truth: The word still — as in “don’t move” — is not in my vocabulary. Stand still? Sit still? Lie still? Nope. I shift from foot to foot or wriggle in my chair or flip back and forth in bed every two minutes, searching for a more comfortable position.
So, when I dive into scripture and see that God says, “Be still,” I know I’m in trouble. The words may sound soothing, but in Scripture they’re a gentle but firm reproof. Several interpretations include, “Calm down” (CEV), He says. “That’s enough!” (CEB). At the time these words were written, God was speaking very pointedly to His battle-prone people. “Stop fighting” (ERV), He told them, “cease striving” (NASB) and “desist” (YLT).
Okay. I get it. It’s clear that in our own daily battles we are to lay down our weapons and trust God for the victory, believing it will come in His perfect timing and according to His flawless plan. In the meantime, He tells us to rest in Him and “let go of your concerns!” ...yep, another interpretation.
Do you want to know what I do when I hear this truth? I nod in agreement even as we hang on to those concerns with both hands. If I don’t fret over my children’s future, who will? If I don’t worry about my in-laws’ health, who will? If I don’t agonize over life’s disappointments, big and small, who will?
He will. That’s what God wants us to understand.
It’s only when we stop moving and stop striving can we recognize the truth about God: He is in control. No matter how crazy our world gets — and it’s definitely getting crazier by the minute — God is still in His heaven, and His good and perfect will is certain to win.
When our verse continues, “know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a), He’s reminding us who He is and what He can do. The creator of all things — including all humanity — knows how to calm our hearts, ease our minds and guide our lives in the right direction.
In the meantime, our calling is simple. Be still. Believe. Be ready.
One autumn morning I was zooming along a country road on my small mail route. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, not a worry on my mind. Without warning, a pick-up coming from the opposite direction swerved into my side of the road. I didn’t want to swerve because the road had no shoulder, the sides were soft and water was on both sides. Three words pounded in my heart. Be still. Know. With only a split second to act, I dove into the grassy approach and missed an ATV parked there. When I finally braked to a stop without hitting anything, I was amazingly calm. No tears, no trauma, no trembling hands.
Clearly, the Lord was there. While I was being still, He was steering.
Does this mean in our day-to-day lives we should take our hands off the wheel, kick back, take a nap, trust God? Not quite. Our hands must stay on the wheel, at the computer, in the laundry basket. Wherever our day finds us, we need to be fully engaged. But when worries come, we can lift them up to God. When adversaries appear, we can let God handle them. For God to change how we live, He first must change how we think. Step one? Be still.