I wonder how often we’ve heard this verse quoted and good sermons preached on the subject of being still. I have myself spoken a number of times about the verse, but recently had an opportunity of rediscovering how hard it is ‘to be still and know’.
I was required to lie still for about an hour whilst undergoing some tests in hospital, and being ‘still’ meant being absolutely motionless whilst confined within a narrow tube-like scanner. I thought I would maybe sleep a little, which proved impossible with the noise, or perhaps pray a lot, which again was thwarted by occasional words from the machine operator via my headphones. The worst thing however was the intrusion of the desire to scratch an itch on my nose, to cough, to move my eyes to something more interesting, or simply to forget to lie still!
It made me think again about how hard it is to focus on God in everyday life. We teach about God-centred living, taking captive our thoughts and so on, but the reality is that ‘life’ intrudes and distracts us. So didn’t God expect that to happen when He inspired the Psalmist to write these words? Is it an impossible requirement that we can never hope to fulfil?
My take on the matter is that God is fully aware of all the distractions of life, and there are times when He doesn’t expect us to be ‘super-spiritual’ so that when we fail we can beat ourselves up again and need yet another ‘Healing Retreat’. Maybe the answer is to commit our times to the Lord, asking Him to be with us in the everyday distractions, so that the inner peace is not robbed, the distractions don’t become stumbling blocks, and when all is done we may still know that He is God. My restlessness in the scanner didn’t stop him being my Lord and God. I’m not condemned for my itchy nose or twitchy fingers! In fact I knew a special peace in the process rather than claustrophobic fear and thus the presence of my Lord was with me.
Perhaps being still is about resting in Jesus in the noise of everyday life, and knowing that He’s always God, even in the frustrations and distractions.
Prayer: Lord, You have been our dwelling place through all generations, and I know that won’t stop just because the world is a noisy and distracting place. Please help me to remember Your presence in all circumstances and to derive peace from that knowledge when I find it hard to be still. Amen.
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