Still - Monday Musing, November 23, 2020
Still. The Psalmist writes, “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). The dictionary definition of the word still is “not moving or making a sound.” Is that even possible with the busyness and craziness of life? Think for a moment – as you are reading these words – see how long you can pause without moving or making a sound.
Commentators have said that the writer of Psalm 46 is probably living in a time of war, conflict, or at the very least, personal strife. It is also possible that Israel was facing war or unrest when this was written, thus this was encouragement to the children of Israel to remain strong, God is their “refuge” (a term repeated three times in this chapter).
In these days of a global pandemic, we are all challenged to feel safe, free from danger of COVID-19. The Psalmist’s words encourage us to be still, reminding us that God is our strength and at work amid our struggles. If this text was written during a time of war, which it most likely was, God is commanding Israel to “stop fighting” and open their eyes to who God is. In some translations, it is phrased “cease striving.”
It is easy to be fearful when things aren’t going well or when we are faced with challenges. During their struggles, however, God tells the people of Israel to wake up and recognize who is on their side. In that light, the tone of this verse can be read: stop striving, stop fighting, and stop trying to do things on your own. Stop stressing about the battle ahead and trust me. Wake up! I am the Lord. I am your refuge and your strength. You have nothing to fear or worry about when I am with you. Be patient and be still.
Sometimes just opening our eyes, stepping back, stopping what we are doing, and acknowledging who God is and what God can do provides comfort in the chaos and peace amid our struggles. During this Thanksgiving Week, may we find peace in the stillness.