“Be still, and know that I am God...”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
Oh the tranquil beauty of these words, “Be still, and know that I am God…” Anytime I read them, I hear them the same way in my head – in a hushed, tender, almost whisper of a voice…“Be still, and know.” It’s such a glorious invitation to rest in the presence of my Savior, and yet so very hard to do.
My humanness so often gets in the way of the peace that God is offering through the simple act of being with him.
Why is it so hard for us to be still with God? My guess is that we equate stillness with idleness and most people I know (myself included) are not good at waiting on God to move. Let’s face it, when our lives or the lives of someone we love are being turned upside down, the last thing anyone wants to do is just “be still” and yet that is so often all God asks us to do. Why?
The answer began to unfold for me recently as I was reflecting on events from the summer of 2011. It was an excruciatingly painful season of waiting on God. While I made it through, it wasn’t until last year that I saw the full picture of what God was doing in my life during that time that would affect me then, now, and quite honestly forever.
There I was at the kitchen table… again. It had been almost 90 days since I had graduated from seminary and God had brought no job opportunities for me in ministry. I was once again having a marathon quiet time with God, typically 2 or 3 hours. There before me was my Bible, a book, a devotional, and my journal. My spiritual pathway is learning, so don’t think I’m trying to come across as super-spiritual - I am not! I just tend to hear from God better when studying and I desperately needed to hear from him.
It was such a confusing time. My husband and I had done everything we felt God had asked of us leading up to that point and yet there I sat with no job. It didn’t make sense and honestly, I was becoming angry.
I wish I could say that those marathon quiet times were these holy, intense, beautiful moments, but really most days were full of tears and venting. Still, I knew that being with God was the only place I would find the answers I was looking for, so I kept coming back.
After nearly 90 days of this, I really had no words left to pray. The situation was what it was and no amount of complaining was going to make God move faster. All I could do was surrender to the situation and wait.
As I sat there at the kitchen table, quietly reflecting on all that I desired to do for God and yet seeing no opportunities to do anything, I heard these words whispered deep in the recesses of my heart, “Just be with me.”
Tears filled my eyes as I heard them, but not for the reason you may think. While I should have been elated that the creator of the universe was whispering to me, all I could think was, “No, that’s not enough. I don’t want to just be with you, I want to do for you!” Tears of shame flowed like a river, and I was certain I would never repeat those thoughts and words to anyone ever. I hated that this was what I felt, but it didn’t change the fact that this was what was in my heart at the time.
Thankfully, in his tender mercy, my Lord did not reprimand my arrogance and disdain for his offer but continued to offer it daily as the months moved forward. Over and over again, it is the only words that would breakthrough in my quiet time with God, “Just be with me.”
I wish I could say I had this grand epiphany and finally got the message about what God was offering but that didn’t come until much later as the demands of family, ministry, and walking with hurting people increased. It was then that I began to not only see what God was offering in this invitation, but also long for in ways that I would never have imagined.
You see, here is what I finally learned that has forever changed me. “Just being with God” is the best invitation we could ever be offered as his children, beyond the gift of salvation through his son Jesus. Seriously, this is not an overstatement.
When I am on the mountaintop of any endeavor (whatever that may be), it is so much more glorious because I get to do it with my Savior and he gets all the glory. But even when I am falling flat on my face, frustrated and confused, it’s ok, because I get to be that mess with my Savior too. Either way, I win, because all the pressure is taken away as I’ve come to realize in everything I get to, “Just be with him.”
For the most part, life for me is no longer about performance and outcomes; it’s about being with my Savior as we walk together through this life. I can’t say that I get it right every day, but when I do slow down enough to “Be still, and know” I’m never disappointed and supremely grateful my Savior took the time to teach me this lesson.
For Your Reflection...
How are you at “just being with God?” What do you think gets in the way?