A time to be still…
Imagine lying on your back on lush green grass gazing at the clouds, creating pictures as they lazily drift by. Imagine crystal clear turquoise water as smooth as velvet, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and puffy clouds which reflect perfectly in the mirror-like water. Quietness, stillness, peace, tranquillity…
King David experienced such peace as described in Psalm 23:1-3(NIV)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He refreshes my soul; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
Stillness and peace both function from the inside out, although peaceful surroundings can assist in creating an atmosphere of peace, real peace emanates from the heart. Isaiah wrote in Is 30:15 “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” The NIV translates this as: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Peace is a by-product of a repenting and a forgiving heart. Strength is experienced when our confidence is in Him, who is able to equip us for every good work (Heb. 13:20-21)
I’ve read about a Danish author who told the story of an old peasant who was very ill. Lying on his bed before his death, he made a strange request to his son, who was sitting with him, trying to comfort him. He asked his son to promise him that he would go to the nicest room in the house and sit there for 30 minutes every day. The son agreed to his dad’s strange request and after his dad had passed away he went to this room and sat. In the beginning, it was hard, as his mind raced and his body fidgeted, not sure how to pass the time and how to handle the quietness. Yet, the son kept his promise and faithfully sat in this room every day. As weeks passed, the son became comfortable with his own company, he became familiar with his thoughts and this half an hour a day became a cherished treasure, a highlight of his day, filled with peace, reflection and faith.
King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
A time to be silent and a time to speak! The person who knows when to speak and when to be silent is indeed wise and mature. We sometimes drown in a barrage of thoughts and words to make sense of challenging situations, trying to answer the gnawing questions of “why” and “what is the sense of this all?”
Sometimes when we face difficulties in relationships, finance, or health, we are at a loss for words, not sure how to handle the situation or even our own emotions. When we are in these kinds of battles, it is helpful to read Psalm 46, to gain perspective.
Psalm 46 reminds us that God’s people will always be secure, regardless of the circumstances they might be living in. It is a testimony to God’s power, faithfulness and strength which is available to us, by faith.
In verse 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
The New American Standard Bible says it like this:
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The instruction in verse 10 is God speaking directly to His children: “Be still, and know that I am God. “
God wants to still our fear by placing our focus on who He is. It is not denying the battle, but it’s yielding to His strength and ceasing to try to do it alone. When we are in the presence of someone so holy and mighty there is a confidence and peace which fills our souls. When we realize who we are serving and see Him in His love and might, the cares and worries fade against the knowledge that He can give us the strength to overcome. Knowing that He is God, knowing Him as my heavenly Father, brings things into perspective. Being “still” in this context is not a command to be passive, but rather to actively place our faith in Him, who can strengthen and equip us for every situation. Whatever challenge or loss or battle you are facing, you can join with the old song which says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”. In the middle of a battle, The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
The value of becoming still does not lie in quietness per se, but in the fact that we actively make time to hear His voice, to put our confidence in our Maker and to allow His spirit to heal our hurting and disillusioned hearts. Are you willing to embrace silence and to just wait on God, without any preconceived idea about how He should make Himself known to you?
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength!