The Enormous Weight of Being Still

"Be still, and know that I am God!" - Psalm 46:10a

Have you got a couple minutes to spare?

Chances are, the answer to that question requires you to open a calendar (paper or electronic) and comb through the many appointments you have scheduled. Or maybe, you don’t have a calendar because you get up at 6 in the morning, pack a lunch, roll out the door by 7 and head to your job which keeps you hopping and popping until 5 in the evening. That leaves you a few precious hours with your family, commonly lived out by driving kids to band practice, soccer practice, or any host of activities you and your significant other have crammed in.

But its more than that, isn’t it? During the course of the day, you consume a gargantuan volume of information and experience an abundance of mental and emotional stimulation through the digital pipeline connected to you from your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, computer screen, etc. A thousand voices try to sell you an array of junk you don’t need. Another thousand voices try and make you angry or anxious about the state of the world around you. Yet another thousand voices seek to entertain your anxious mind with a barrage of meaningless antics such as cats who are afraid of cucumbers or a trick video that leads to yet another “rickroll.”

Your life is bloated and bulging at the seams, emanating an overwhelming amount of clattering noise, unable to contain all that you need or want, and I have the audacity to ask you if you have a few minutes to spare.

Being still is a near impossibility. Finding silence requires a near miracle.

I want you to know that when God asks us to be still, it’s not the end of the request, either. He doesn’t want stillness or silence for their own sake. It is in the elusive stillness that He commands us to know that He is God.

Now THAT’S audacity. What possible good can come from performing an impossible task (being still) for the purpose of realizing something obvious (He is God)?

Perhaps it is in the impossibility of the command that God is making a point. “If you can’t be still, why is that? If you can’t hear me, why is that?”

Full lives at the expense of experiencing God is like a spiritual suicide. If your life is so full of the things of this earth, how can you possibly HAVE a spiritual life?

I think of an extended family member whose life is crammed with constant activity. When I ask her why she does this to herself, she confesses, “I don’t think I could handle the silence. I would have to face all that’s truly wrong in my life.”

For many (but not all), the bloated lives cover up the things they don’t want to deal with. They have wounds of the past still unhealed. They have little devils lurking in their prayer closets.

That’s why being still is a huge ask. People want to avoid it at all costs.

And that’s why God reminds us that it is IN the stillness, He is our God. He is the healer of wounds. He is the Provider and the Protector.

So, what can you do? Start small. If you remove one noisemaker in your life, what would it be? If you eliminated a distraction on your calendar, what would it be?

Today, I decided that my evenings will no longer include YouTube, Disney+, Netflix, or Prime Video. Instead, I will read a book. My screen will remain dark.

“Wait,” you say. “Isn’t that trading one noisemaker for another?

I don’t think so. Some of my best “be still and know He is God” moments come in reading the right kind of book. Consider it a hearing aid I wear to listen for the voice of my Shepherd.

Of course, I do need more genuine silence in my life, as well. Case in point: in between my typing of the last sentence and this sentence, my phone notifications went off eight times with everything from text messages to video notifications to hockey scores. Needless to say, I had to silence my phone.

You may still be afraid of the silence. I get that. But do not forget who promises to make Himself known in the silence. And that should make you willing to truly be still.

Pastor Scott