The Overflow

living in the overflow of God's goodness through every season

Be Still

FaithCarrie-Grace McConkey6 Comments
Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

Does the current news ever terrify you? There is so much unrest in the world, and day-by-day it creeps steadily closer to us. The sickness of fallen humanity flaunts itself in our current culture through many means, including homosexual agendas, current political candidates, and constant news of terrorism.

Do you ever feel that sickness within your own heart? The demands of the flesh trying to control your actions, the struggle to obey Christ when the cost is great, the tumult and disunity among other believers stealing into your soul?

How do we respond during those times?

Psalm 46:10-11 (ESV) says:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.”

Psalm 46 is a psalm talking about how God is a “very present help” during tumultuous times. In this psalm, the nations are raging, earthquakes and natural disasters are taking place, and the world is in chaos. The psalmist shows us how to respond and gives us a reason to hope despite the turmoil.

Friends, we have only to be still.

Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

The word still is a Hebrew word that means, “To slacken, to leave, let alone, stay[1].” It’s used in both negative and positive senses in the Bible. Be still and know are both imperative verbs in the Hebrew—they are commands, not options.

In the midst of the struggles, God commands us to rest in Him. And the reason He gives for resting in Him is simply this: He is with us. And He will be exalted in the earth.

So how do we rest in Him?

I love when Paul tells the Philippians that “the Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:5b-6, ESV).

A way to rest in the Lord that’s been especially helpful to me is to think on the words of Scripture. Paul continues in Philippians 4 by saying, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (vs. 8-9, ESV). I sometimes like to repeat the Psalm 46 passage above to myself throughout the day. It calms my heart and gives me a renewed perspective so that my vision of life is clearer.

In the midst of troubling times, I believe it’s also important to take moments of quiet to re-tune ourselves with God’s Word. In Luke 10:38-42, Luke records the story of Martha and Mary. Martha “was distracted with much serving” (v. 40), but Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Finally, when Martha couldn’t handle the unfairness anymore, she turned on Jesus, rebuking Him for allowing Mary to sit at His feet rather than helping her sister. The Lord gently and firmly answered her, saying that “one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (v. 42). While Martha’s heart was agitated with earthly concerns, Mary quieted her own heart by sitting at the feet of Jesus and soaking in His teaching. Today Jesus offers us the same “good portion” He gave to Mary. In the midst of trials, the Word of God stands as a place of security and solace we can run to.

Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

Photo Credit: Julianna Otero

The past few weeks, I’ve been studying John 13-15 in a Bible competition. These chapters occur during the Last Supper, where Jesus comforts His disciples before His departure. Soon the disciples will scatter, Judas will betray Jesus, Peter will deny Him, but most importantly, Jesus will leave them for a time. In the midst of all this impending chaos, these two verses from John 14 offer hope to the disciples (and to us):

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (v. 1).
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (v. 27).

While Psalm 46 deals with worldwide tumult and geographical disturbance, Jesus takes this theme of faith and stillness to a personal level with His disciples. Instead of leaving them with agitated, restless hearts, Jesus tells His disciples, and all His followers, to simply trust in Him. He provides them with His own peace during a troubled time. 

Beloved friend, no matter where you are or what you’re dealing with, God is still in control. Enjoy some rest in Him.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
[2]

 

References

[1] Strong’s Concordance, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7503&t=KJV

[2] Written by Horatio Spafford