There are times when a phrase or verse of Scripture jumps out, and suddenly it shows up everywhere: in prayer guides, sermon notes or two Facebook pages in the same week. The verse “Be still, and know that I am God,” from Psalm 46:10 was such a phrase over the past two weeks. When that happens, clearly the only thing to do is write about it!

How hard it is to be still. In the past, perhaps this was because work was constant, and leisure time was out of reach for all but the wealthy. Today we have more leisure time, in one sense, than ever before. Yet “Busy” is still the answer to the question “How are you?” I have work and responsibilities, but if I’m honest with myself, much time is spent with entertainment, shopping, social media, etc. These things aren’t wrong in and of themselves, but I use them too much as a distraction from the hard work of thinking and reflection. Small children and heavy job responsibilities make stillness difficult. I believe in those seasons it’s good to ask God for small intervals of stillness throughout the day, and then to make us aware of them when they occur! And always, God knows the desire of our hearts in the busy times. Jesus understands.

Be still and know that I am God. If, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “It is only framed in space that beauty blooms” a corollary might be “It is only framed in stillness that deeper faith unfolds.” When we quiet our thoughts and stop the rushing, what can happen? What blessings am I missing because I am afraid, deep down, to be still with God? Such stillness is never a waste of time.

Why would I be afraid to be still with God? Well, maybe in that quiet moment, I will hear something I don’t like. I won’t be able to hide from a certain struggle anymore. Maybe God will tell me to do something I don’t want to do. Maybe that deeply hidden doubt won’t be pushed down any more and I’ll have to examine it. Maybe I’ll be bored. God is the great Unknown who knows us and it can be frightening.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,

An ever present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the

Earth give way

And the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Though its waters roar and foam

And the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make

Glad the city of God,

The holy place where the Most High


God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

He lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;

The God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has


The desolations he has brought on

The earth.

He makes wars cease

To the ends of the earth.

He breaks the bow and shatters the


He burns the shields with fire.

He says “Be still, and know that I am


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.

Look a little deeper at these verses and something else appears. God is the one bringing destruction. All this is under His control. When God stops us in our tracks as we go down a self centered road, there can be a part of our heart that sees this as a desolation. God has shattered our ideas of self sufficiency and ability to save ourselves. We cannot build a fortress strong enough to keep out death. God, as the psalmist reminds us again and again, is our only true fortress and refuge. But we will only find that out when we are still.

The whole psalm is a testament to God’s strength and power. Nations are in an uproar, floods rage, the very earth seems to melt. At this moment, when any human heart panics and fails, God says “Be still.” At the time of greatest earthly fear, He tells us “Know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.” When the ground shakes under our feet the Psalmist assures “The Lord Almighty is with us; The God of Jacob is our fortress.”