As I was working this morning I came across an article I had written for ContagiousJoy4Him some time ago. As I read it God spoke to me though my own words. To this day I far too often struggle being still before Him. I’m posting the article here as a reminder to me and pray it encourages others as well.
Be still! My mother often told me that. I fidgeted when I was a child. Okay, I’ll admit it, I still fidget.
Just what is the definition of still? Good ol’always there to help me out. The first definition listed was exactly what my mother desired me to do. “Remain in place or at rest; motionless; stationary: to stand still.”
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10a
What does God mean when he tells us to be still?
The word translated “be still” comes from the Hebrew term raphah. Given the context it is used in the meaning can vary. In this verse it means to sink, let go, relax.
Sink into what? Let go of what? Relax?
The plans we make………..I am a planner. I do my best not to over commit. However I often forget that plans far too often are interrupted. The last several months have been a stark reminder of that.
The month of August should have been a fairly calm month. At least that is what I thought when I looked at my calendar at the beginning of the summer. I would travel to visit my family then made preparations for a mission team coming in July. I knew July would be busy with outreach activities. But then we could relax a bit. So I thought. Then, well life happened.
As the month of August went on I knew I was scheduled to write an article on Psalm 46:10. I was mulling it over and had thoughts about what I would write. Nearly every time I would get a good start on it I would get interrupted. If I didn’t get interrupted I would have difficulty “being still”. It just wasn’t happening.
Relax? I was far from relaxed! There was so much going on, so much not happening that should be happening, and so many uncertainties. Nearly all that I had counted on was out the window.
I sent an email apologizing for the delay of the article and assuring her that I would get it finished “no matter what”. That evening I sat down to make good on my word. Then I prayed……….begged God for clarity.
He was faithful to answer that prayer. It occurred to me that I was attempting to “be still” under my own power. And while doing that I wasn’t acknowledging the remainder of that verse. Be still; a stillness that comes with knowing that He is God and He will be exalted.
Yes, I must fulfill my responsibilities and live my life with integrity in this uncertain world. But my strength and determination in no way negates my need to rely on God.
I thought I knew what was coming my way when I looked at my calendar for the summer but I was forgetting James 4:13-15 “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Being still (raphah) is not necessarily lack of activity. Yes, we all need that time of sitting still and meditating on God’s word and allowing Him to speak to us. The rest of the day is where I went off track. I wasn’t being still in my spirit. I did have my moments where I knew God was right there with me. But more often I was being reactionary when one more unexpected thing came my way. My reaction to the circumstances should have been more like definition #4 for still listed in“free from turbulence or commotion; peaceful; tranquil; calm”. I had a lot to turbulence and commotion going on inside me. I didn’t have a peaceful, tranquil, calm spirit that comes from knowing He is God and knowing that He would be exalted. I allowed fear to enter in where only stillness and knowing should be.
I didn’t have a clue what was coming my way this summer. He did. And He will be exalted. All I need to do is Be Still and Know Who My God is. The Lord Almighty is with us.