Wisdom Knows How to Be Still
“Ain’t got no time for that!”
Life is busy. Every life stage brings unique challenges which cry out for our attention.
Yet God tells us, amidst our work, amidst our family life, amidst our health challenges, amidst our technology, amidst our everything…to be still.
What is your first reaction: When you feel stressed? When you are tired? When you are down? When you feel annoyed? When you are meeting with someone? When you are preparing for work or school?
Is it to work or plan harder? Distract with social media? Eat? Sleep? Complain?
Or, is it to “be still?”
It doesn’t feel like it makes sense, but God tells us to be still. It’s hard to be still. It takes time to be still. For me, I must put myself in a place where I will have minimal distractions, then take deep breaths, notice and recount God’s bigness and goodness—and connect. And listen. Beforehand it helps me to listen to or sing spiritual music, read some Scriptures, and take time to be still, to listen to what God is teaching me.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:5-7)
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (Psalm 46:10-11)
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Wisdom knows how to be still.
One particular time stands out in my mind from years ago when Wyndham felt a great deal of stress. It was an extremely difficult time in the church and he felt great pressure. What did he do? He didn’t first plan and scheme and talk. He took his Bible and a songbook and went away to a quiet place for a few days with his son-in-law, in order to be still. To be renewed. To hear God. He sang. Prayed. Read the Bible. Listened to God. Went “offline,” to all except God.
Often, he would walk the power lines behind our house (with his dog following close behind) to sing and pray…and reflect…and then sit and be still—listening to God. I’ve always admired his ability to disconnect—in order to connect. My distracted, multi-tasking brain has a harder time with this. But it’s important, and necessary to make such times.
Sometimes, the place to “be still” is right outside my door. The other night I stepped outside to be still. The stars were bright, the night was quiet. As I sang this song I reflected on God as he quieted my soul. Tears streamed down my face.
Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
Be still my soul when dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears
Then shalt thou better know His love His heart
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still my soul the waves and winds shall know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below
Be still my soul the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot love’s purest joys restored
Be still my soul when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
(By Katharina Von Schlegel—public domain)
How I needed to be still. It was good for me to reflect as I poured out both gratitude and disappointments. I needed to wrestle and surrender, as this is a hard season of life, of loss, pain, and various disappointments. Despite these, I feel God’s strong presence. The stillness of the night and the brightness of the stars reminded me of his steadfast love. I want to completely rid my heart of fear, as I know that what is on the other side of life on earth is not even comparable to what I have seen—and I’ve seen a lot! I needed to look into the heavens in the still of the night and contemplate heaven, remembering he calls the stars out by name.
Though I have disappointments, his thoughts are light years’ greater than mine. When I am still, God’s Spirit revives my soul as expressed by another hymn:
Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone….
Oh, lead me, Lord, that I may lead…
Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach…
Oh, give Thine own sweet rest to me,
That I may speak with soothing pow’r
A word in season, as from Thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.
Oh, fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart o’erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.
Oh, use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until Thy blessed face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.
(By Frances Havergal and Robert Schumann, public domain)
May we all take the needed time to “be still.”