“Be still. . .”
Is there anything still or silent about our world? I don’t think so. Is there anything in the entire cosmos at rest? Nope.
Even at the microscopic level, atoms are in non-stop motion. Our world is not only spinning on its’ axis, but also rotating around the sun. Our solar system isn’t stationary, neither is our 100 billion star-filled galaxy. Nothing sits still. And, yet, the stillness is the only place we will find God.
The Psalmist writes, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) When you are going here and there, you cannot but help think about where your going or how you are getting there. You’re making sure you don’t trip, or miss a turn. Or, maybe you’re praying the brakes on the plane actually stop the aircraft before it rockets itself off the runway. You’re going somewhere, and that destination requires some forethought.
Yet, is all this motion good for us? I don’t think so. All the motion we experience is more than just external. I believe strongly what we do physically affects us internally, spiritually. Is it possible to be still internally, to have peace of soul and rest in Spirit, when the rest of us in in constant motion? Our Western world prizes busyness as if busyness were a mark of importance. But, is it true? Our significance cannot come from what we do because all of us, without exception, are replaceable (and our replacements may well be upgrades!). Our significance, then, must come from something more intrinsic. Our significance comes from who we are. And, we only learn this by being still and knowing God.
Our concept of self comes first from knowing God, hearing his voice, learning his ways and obeying. But, I don’t think true knowledge of God is possible unless we actually are with him, and it’s pure silliness to say we can be with him and keep our insanely hectic schedules. Look, if I can see my wife every day, yet still have her rightly say, “Honey, I don’t feel like you know me. . . You are never here“, don’t you think even more truly we can think we are with God by actually never be here with him? Why do we have so much trouble being honest with ourselves, telling ourselves that we cannot learn God without slashing our schedules and rearranging our priorities physically? Because our world’s pseudo-gospel tells us the false gospel of busyness more frequently and with more volume than our churches currently proclaim the other-worldly kingdom of God.
So, what am I saying? I’m saying that I personally will not develop stillness internally nor develop a real relationship with God unless I stop running my life the way the world wants it run. I will be in constant turmoil internally until I learn the world knows nothing of peace and grace because it knows nothing of God. I will continue measuring myself against the world’s ever-evolving standards until I finally learn my meaning is found in rooted deeply in simply being God’s child.
Learn to “Be still.” I think this means literally being still. I think this literally means saying no to more worldly “opportunities” while preferring eternal appointments. We cannot complain of our internal conflict as long as we behave in accordance with worldly-ways. It is only when we learn to live the way Christ lived that we will finally learn what rest and wholeness actually feel like.
*Image from the public domain.