Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”
Cup of my favourite joe in my favourite mug… check. iPad streaming the latest worship song… check. My too-dusty Bible open on the decently cleared off kitchen counter… check. The kids are in bed… check… well, I’d better not check as they might not stay down, but at least it’s quiet for now. Alright. This should be a perfect place to meet God… but where is He?
All too often I find myself striving to create the perfect scenario to meet with God. From striving to cram in a radio sermon on the way home from work to chiming off “Christian-ese” greetings to every other exhausted yet smiling person I meet on Sunday morning, I find myself striving to be a lot. Be the Christian before Christ I ought to be. Be the husband I wish I could be. Be the father I should be. Be the participant in the community that I need to be. Be the employee that everyone wants me to be. I think though, that in being these things, or at least trying to be, I miss the mark entirely.
Not that these are not all valid or worthwhile endeavours in and of their own rights. They are. God wants us to be balanced and he wants us to be good stewards of the time, talents, and resources He chooses to bless us with, but sometimes in all of our striving, our struggling, our be-ing, we miss out on the simple truth of Psalm 46:10, the call to be still, and know that He is God.
Stillness isn’t the norm in my life. From the moment I hear my backyard chickens waking in the morning to the last futile attempts to hold my weary eyelids open for one more task each night, life as a Christian husband, father of four (see one of them above), son, son-in-law, friend, church leader and teacher is go, Go, GO! Even when I try to create the perfect “still” moment, the phone rings, the dog barks, or the to-do list for the day creeps into my head and all of my attempts to meet God are lost. But maybe that’s the point. These attempts, while well-intentioned, are mine. All mine. Not His. As the lowercase “master” of my own universe, sometimes I try to take command and take charge of the One thing I can never be. God.
Think about it. Being still is scary. It is quiet. Sometimes too quiet. I hear my thoughts. I might actually even hear His. Yikes. Is that what I really want?!? While I have been nudged to write this for the past few months, it took until today to take the time to put pixel to paper. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was trying to contrive the perfect opportunity to do so amid the daily storms of everyday life. Brake jobs, board meetings and bad days always seemed to get in the way.
The final clincher for picking up the keyboard came yesterday as I sat under a gazebo in a campground in an unexpected torrential thunderstorm trying to get free wi-fi. Not the brightest idea, but one none the less. You see, I had the storm raging all around me, but I finally realized that it is in this storm that God provided the shelter I needed most. I could not have arranged a better time or place than this. Never. I could have fretted. I could have made a run for it. I could have… but I didn’t. I was still. I stopped planning, scheming, dreaming and instead focused on be-ing. Being still. Motionless. Trapped. Unable to do anything except enjoy the power and the beauty of the moment and enjoy the respite and reprieve God gave so unexpectedly. So undeservedly. I was still, and in that moment, I knew that He was God. And in knowing, I saw his protection, provision and promise ring true once again. As always.
As I was pounced on this morning by my loving two year old son once again and jolted from my slumber, I realized that this new sense of be-ing, of stillness, had to be a choice. A daily one. An hourly one. Even a moment by moment one. Like breathing. Take marriage, for example. True relationship doesn’t happen by forcing it. By contriving the situation so it all works out. I mean, God can use my failed attempts to work into His permissive will, but I know for me to meet a wife like mine, it was a lot more Him than me. God’s perfect will occurs as I let go, and let God. True connection in any relationship happens as we “be still” together. From hand slipping into hand on a quiet, enjoyable walk together, the unexpected hug after reading a child a bed time story “one more time,” or the smile on a friend’s face after they have been truly heard instead of being told a hundred different times that it’s all going to be okay, these moments, when we are still, are often the most memorable and the most satisfying. Yet sadly, they are often the most rare.
Today as you face the storms in your life, as chaos rages and you wish the swells of fear and doubt would subside, remember as you start and end each day, and often as you battle through it, to take a moment, even just one, and be still. For it is in the stillness that you hear what you truly need, the reminder that He is God and that there is nothing that He can’t do. Yes, even that one thing you so desperately cling to as yours to do something about. Be still and truly know that He is God.