Be still, and know that I am God… (Psalm 46:10, N.K.J.V.)
Our son Royce is 18 years old now, and sitting still continues to be a challenge for him. He’s hyper. He’s active. He’s fidgety. He’s squirmy. He’s, well, you get the idea. He can sit and play his PlayStation IV for hours on end, but he does it by constantly changing positions. One minute he’s sitting in his beanbag. The next minute he’s lying in his beanbag. Ten minutes later he’s sitting on the floor. Five minutes later he’s lying on the bed. Again, you get the idea.
Then every so often he will jump up like a sprinter hearing the gun fire, bolt out of his room and into the kitchen at 100 miles per hour, grab a snack by way of a skill and precision that would make pit crews coming over the wall at the Daytona 500 envious, and then bolt back into his room. The whole event doesn’t take 20 seconds. If anything, his time has improved with age.
In Royce’s younger days in school, my wife Tonya literally had to explain to his teachers, “Don’t expect him to sit perfectly still in a chair. He can’t. If he did, he would die.” Of course it’s not like he was much better sitting in church. He always had to have something in his hands, something he could toy with for no other reason other than to gobble up some of that ocean of pent-up energy he had inside him. What I always found fascinating was that he could remember large portions of my sermons without ever actually looking up to make eye contact with me. He was the contrast of the church member who could hold eye contact with me for an entire sermon and not remember a thing I said fifteen minutes later.
Truth be told, most of us have a little “Royce” in us when it comes to being still and knowing that God is God. Do you take those words “be still” literally? Fine, but when was the last time you actually sat down, ceased all motion, calmed yourself to the point of serenity, and spent some time one-on-one with God? If your answer is, “It’s been a while,” feel free to take your place in a long line.
Actually, though, the words “be still” don’t have to be understood in a literal, physical way. After all, you can be physically still and your mind be racing a million miles per hour. You can be lying in bed and your entire body be racked with worry and anxiety. You can get away from it all, only to find that you brought it all with you. This is why I say that “be still” can also be understood in a way that is less literal and physical.
What I’m talking about is you purposely ceasing from your plotting, planning, and scheming. Stop trying to jump three moves ahead of God. Just focus on doing what He wants you to be doing today, right now, this very second. To me, this kind of “be still” is every bit as important as the other kind.
And do you know what most everyone misses about these words, “Be still, and know that I am God”? It’s the fact that the words are found within a Psalm that is all about God’s ability to provide deliverance and protection. For example, verse 1 says: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Verse 2 says: “Therefore we will not fear…” Verse 7 and verse 11 both say: “The Lord of hosts is with us….”
You see, the Psalm isn’t advocating having a quiet time. It’s advocating resting confidently in the promise that God has your back and is going to take care of business for you. Really, when we get right down to it, the “be still” the Psalmist has in mind is something akin to the phrase “Let go and let God.” The idea is, you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to hack your way through that jungle you call a life. All you have to do is get in step with God, obey Him in each and every decision, and find your rest in Him rather than in your circumstances.
The word is TRUST. Trust God to protect you. Trust Him to sustain you. Trust Him to meet your needs. Trust Him to guide you. Trust Him to handle your enemies.
But such trust doesn’t come easily for us, does it? No, what comes easily for us is worrying, plotting, planning, scheming, being impatient, and being anxious. Like Royce, we’ve got to be active, got to be on the move, got to be doing something. In this way we are the polar opposite of, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And in this way we bring untold damage upon ourselves mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically, and, obviously, spiritually.
So, my challenge to you today and every day is: let God retrain you and teach you how to genuinely be still and know that He is God. All you’ve got to lose is a ton of stress and a few points off your blood pressure, right? It’s a case of less being more. The less includes less worry, less strife, less nervous energy, and less fear, while the more includes more peace, more calmness, more contentment, and more joy. It sure does sound like a great trade off, doesn’t it? You’d be crazy, then, not to take God up on it.