Ah, yes. A strange thing for us—to be still. Our fast-paced world doesn’t like the sound of those words, much less understand them. We have too much to do, places to go, ball teams to cheer on, concerts to attend, and cell phones to stare at for goodness sake!
I searched through Scripture and gathered my handy-dandy Strong’s Concordance to further understand this frightening phrase, “Be still.” Of course when we hear that phrase, we automatically think of the wonderful verse from the Psalms.
“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10
Is it underlined in your Bible? No? Get your pen out! This “Be still” has the connotation of “hang limp, sink down, withdraw, abate, cease.” The preceding verses tell of God’s almighty power. When we hang limp and withdraw from our important activities, we may just see the power of God at work in our lives.
Perhaps you remember when Elijah was told to stand on the mountain “for the Lord is about to pass by.” But the Lord didn’t speak out of the “great and powerful wind”, nor the earthquake or the even the fire. Instead:
…after the fire came a still small voice. (KJV) When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. I Kings 19:12-13
“A hush, a whisper, a calm, silence.” At times, when I was an elementary music teacher, my students might get restless or distracted. My tendency was to get louder to bring their attention back, but when that didn’t work, I went to the old teacher trick—I paused and spoke softly. There is something about the stillness that draws us in. No clutter. Our minds can rest and re-set.
Is your life too loud for you to hear his quiet voice? Are there values He is trying to teach you? A deed of kindness He has in mind for you? A service He wants you to engage in? Does He want to show you his power at work or simply be near to you so that you’re aware of his presence in your life?
I love the John 15 passage where Jesus compares himself to a vine. “I am the true vine,” he says. We are the branches. Of course the branches must draw their strength and nourishment from the vine to be healthy and fruitful. The King James version uses the word “abide.” Great word! Another one I like is “dwell.” The NIV says “remain.” Another translation is “begin and continue.” That’s a nice fresh one.
This is the way Jesus puts it:
“I am the vine; you are the branches.If a man remains (abides, dwells, begins and continues) in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and are burned.” John 15:5-6
Ouch! Who wants to be a dead branch? Self-sufficient doesn’t get it. Apart from him you can do nothing, at least nothing fruitful. So, how do we remain, abide, dwell, be still, begin and continue? Next week we’ll explore some practical possibilities.
As a start (or a continuance, if you’ve mastered this), I challenge you to be still for the next five minutes. That’s all. Just be still. Practice not thinking about your to-do list. Try to put your mind in rest mode. Focus on the Lord. Maybe reread the Scriptures on this page. Walk to a window. Look up to the sky. Close your eyes. Breathe in and out slowly. Sit back down if you wish. Ask him to speak to you in his still small voice. Listen.
~ Joyce ~