Monday, March 7, 2016

Being Still in an Gotta-Get-Going World

Much as we hate it, sometimes being still is the best thing for us.
When something I read in the Bible or a spiritual passage in a book catches my attention, I usually go, “Hmm.” But when I read the same thought more than once from different sources, I wonder, “Is God trying to tell me something?”

This happened a couple of weeks ago when two devotional readings referred to the same passage on the same day: Psalm 46:10, which says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Sounds simple, right? NOT! Not at all.

Being still isn’t something most of us value these days. We praise busy people, those whose hectic lives practically have them passing themselves on the highway, rushing from one event to the next. The pace of life seems faster all the time, so “being still” seems to make as much sense as hanging from a tree by our toes.

However, it’s apparently something God values. In one of my favorite psalms, King David wrote, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7), and later he restated the same sentiment: “Wait for the Lord and keep his way” (Psalm 37:34).

Being still – and waiting – run counter to our gotta-get-going, have-to-do-it-now culture. Patience isn’t a trait we prize. But sometimes being still is the best way to move forward spiritually.

Imagine having the opportunity to be in the presence of one of history’s legendary people, maybe someone like Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Florence Nightingale, Mark Twain, or Jackie Robinson. Admittedly, quite a diverse assortment of people – and all dead. But just imagine.

Would you tell them how busy you are and rush off, or would you put everything else on hold so you could enjoy a rare conversation with them? Hopefully glean some of their wisdom? Well, how about an opportunity to stop – be still – and listen to Jesus, arguably the most influential person who’s ever walked the earth?

The world we live in offers us little in the way of peace. Whether it’s the unsettling news that bombards us day after day; deadlines and demands we must deal with in the workplace; stresses in our homes; fears from within and without we wrestle with; or other factors that rattle our mental cages. That’s why God suggests, urges, even commands, “Be still and know that I am God.”

During the stillness and the quiet, we remember, “(God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). In those moments we can practice the admonition to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Do you find yourself often, or even always, in a state of high anxiety? Do you hear the phrase, “peace that transcends all understanding,” and wonder what that means? Maybe it’s time to step on the brakes, exit the high-speed freeway of life for a little while, and just “be still and know that He is God.” It might just change your day. It could even change your entire life!

No comments: