Life is busier than ever. People are working longer hours. Mobile phones mean that we are always within reach. Social media brings an endless bombardment of information. One existential crisis seems to lead to the next. It is into this ever present whirlwind that Psalm 46:10 speaks with such relevance – ‘Be still, and know that I am God’
The idea of stillness may appear to be remote and unattainable to many people. Yet the nature of our hectic lives makes it all the more necessary. If we don’t learn to be still and to wait upon the Lord, our faith will be the poorer for it. Jesus is our example in this; it was His frequent practice to detach Himself from a busy ministry schedule, dismiss the crowds and spend time with His Father.
What is involved in being still before God?
* Aloneness: to have people around us especially family and friends is a blessing. It is also a blessing to spend time alone. We should be comfortable in our own company, not in a reclusive sense but in order to commune with God. The public and corporate side of our faith is vitally important, but so is the private and individual side. In the same way a married couple need to spend time alone together, so do Christians with their Lord.
* Quietness: there is a time to speak and a time to listen, there is also a time for silence when no one speaks. A lot of people are uncomfortable without noise of some sort and that is because they are not used to it. It feels like a void that needs to be filled. Quietness provides the opportunity to calm our hearts and gather our thoughts. Quietness is often the ideal preparation for prayer.
* Rest: so important is rest that God gave to mankind the Sabbath. Sundays however can actually be as busy as other days and we should therefore seek to find moments of rest throughout the week. We don’t only need to rest from our regular employment, we need to rest from people, from phones, from TV, from the internet, from schedules and from responsibilities. Rest brings calmness and refreshment.
* Contemplation: being still does not mean nothingness; we are cultivating stillness in order to know God. This of necessity must involve Godward thoughts. In the quiet place we can meditate upon scripture; we can think about God’s character, His provision and providence, His attributes, etc. In the quiet place we can reflect upon how we are living and what issues we need to bring before Him in prayer. Christians are to be spiritually minded; all too often our minds extend little beyond the trivial and the temporal.
It was when Elijah was alone before the Lord that the ‘still small voice’ came to him. Make the time, find a space where you can get away from everyone and everything, turn off your phone, learn to ‘be still and know that the Lord is God’. Do it regularly. You will be blessed