What “Be Still” Means

Psalm 46:10 is an often quoted verse. It says, Be still and know that I am God. It’s on coffee mugs, posters, greeting cards. It is an invitation to experience God, to rest, slow down.

It is also an invitation that I and many others reject on a daily basis.

Our rejection of this invitation is interesting because of how tired most Americans are, how worn out we are, how run down we are from living life. You would think, the invitation from God for us to be still and know that He is God would be a welcome invitation.

But we reject it.

First off, to be still and know that He is God means I need to admit that I am not God. I have to admit there are things outside of my control. Things I can’t do. Things I can’t handle. There are people and situations I cannot control. This is not a facade many of us are willing to give up any time soon. We know we aren’t in control, but we are content to live with the idea that we might be.

Second, for me to be still means I am going to have to stop. Which means, slowing down, stopping things, resting. The reason most Americans don’t Sabbath and rest isn’t because we don’t know how to or aren’t very good at it. We don’t rest and slow down because we don’t want to. As long as we are busy, we don’t have to think about what is broken in our lives. We don’t have to think about that situation from 10 years ago we are trying to forget that we have never dealt with. Being still often means facing our sin. Being still gives God the opportunity to speak to us. As long as we are moving, we are able to drown Him out and not think about those broken places in our lives.

Third, is the crucial word know. Most of the time, when we talk about faith in God or a lack of faith, it all has to do with our feelings. We talk about not feeling in love as a reason for divorce. We don’t feel God’s love, so it must not be real is a comment I’ve heard countless times. But, Psalm 46 tells us to know that He is God. Not feel. Feelings are fleeting and easy to dismiss. Knowing means I must slow down to ask, “What do I know about God? Looking at the world around me, what does that say about God? How have I seen God be faithful to redeem other things in my life, why not this thing I won’t give up?”

We don’t slow down, not because we can’t or don’t have time. We don’t stop because deep down, we want to be God. We don’t want God to speak to us about those broken places in our lives, we’d like to keep being the victim in that situation instead of facing it and having him redeem it.

But the invitation still stands, by accepting it, we find rest. We find life. We find a place where we can let go of worries, hurt, frustrations and be with God. Exactly what we need.

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11 thoughts on “What “Be Still” Means

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