Psalm 46 gives an account of a season of trouble. It's filled with words that communicate dire conditions.
...earth give way... mountains fall into the sea... waters roar... mountains quake... nations in uproar... kingdoms fall... earth melts... desolations...
And at the end of this description of suffering the Lord speaks "Be still and know that I am God".
Be still? Be still in the midst of trouble and desolation? Be still in the midst of raging war and devastation? How do you be still when the world around you is crumbling?
Maybe the question isn't how but why? Why be still? Why not run? Or hide? Or fight?
Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Prov. 4:20
God tells us to be still so that we can hear His instruction to us. Daily we are surrounded by trouble, maybe not "mountains falling into the sea" or "earth melting" but mountains of bills, laundry and deadlines. The kids have meltdowns, or make choices that cause us to meltdown! Daily we are faced with decision after decision that must be made. How do we know what we should do?
Generally speaking I stress over the bills, complain about the laundry, work frantically to meet the deadlines. I yell at the kids then cry about yelling at them. And at the end of the day I fall in bed exhausted dreading the alarm signaling the start of one more day of madness.
I read about being still and then look at the swirling chaos around me and wonderer... how?
In the New American Standard "be still" is translated "cease striving". In the midst of this crazy life God's wants us to cease striving, to be still. He longs to speak peace into our chaotic world. He wants to whisper wisdom into our question heart. He desires to speak words of comfort to our tired souls. But the swirling, tumbling noise of our lives drowns out the still quite voice of the almighty God who speaks in a still small voice.
"I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2
I have stilled and quieted. Through a decision I choose stillness. Through an act of my will I chose quiet.
I spent this past weekend at the Monastery in search of quiet. In the hushed sanctuary of the chapel and on the banks of the quiet pond my heart was stilled and His voice became clear.
Sadly I can't spend every weekend in the quiet safety of the Monastery. But I can spend at least a moment with a still and quiet soul. I can find at least a brief minute to turn off the phone and let the email go unchecked.
My heart yearns to hear Him. I am desperate to know His will. And so we have to be purposeful about being still. We can't expect our calendars to magically clear or our kids to spontaneously be quiet. But we can create time to take a moment to sit. To listen. To know.
In the midst of this chaotic life I have stilled and quieted my soul... so I can hear the voice of God.