I have a lot on my mind.
It’s early Saturday morning. I lie in bed, mind racing, thinking about upcoming transitions at work, financial commitments, the debilitating illness of a close relative, tensions in personal relationships and decisions I need to make in the coming week. Emotions kick in as I begin to worry and wonder what will happen.
These words suddenly come to me:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
They are from Psalm Chapter 46 verse 10 (New Revised Standard Version).
The words are calming. I begin to think more deeply about each part of that sentence.
Psalm 46 sets a scene of pure chaos (in verses 2 -3). The earth is changing. Mountains are shaking into the heart of the sea. The ocean roars and foams.
The writer’s life is coming apart. Things that were certain and stable – as unmovable as the mountains – along with the reassurance they bring, are now failing. Outlooks are shifting. Fears set in. Emotions are in turmoil- not unlike the rumbling sea.
Stillness involves calm, tranquillity and quietness (as taken from the Oxford Dictionary). I love the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition: “a state of freedom from storm or disturbance.” Synonyms are: placidity, restfulness and sereneness.
A still place is a respite - a place of soothing. Everything is in harmony, order and balance.
It takes a lot to tell your swarming bundle of thoughts and emotions to shut up. It is akin to speaking to a hurricane expecting it to stop howling. But Jesus did just that, on a boat in the middle of a furious storm which had gripped his disciples with fear.
The waves were so huge they were overtaking the boat and the disciples, some of whom were seasoned fishermen used to the many moods of the sea, were panicking.
Jesus said “Peace! Be still!” (Mark Chapter 4 verses 35 to 41). The storm obeyed.
This is what God asks us to do. Talk to your heart and brain and tell them to be quiet.
There’s a visualization tool I use to help me get there. I close my eyes and picture myself lying on my back in a small boat. I’m floating on an absolutely calm, milky-white lake which is cocooned by cotton-ball-whiteness all around. Such a place obviously doesn’t exist in reality but it is vivid in my mind. It is a micro-world I created where nothing exists but nothingness and me.
I have no past or present or future on my mind. I imagine what it feels like to just be – to be floating there, seeing nothing but whiteness. I then deliberately and gradually relax every muscle in my body.
At that place, I’m ready to hear God without distractions.
Use whatever tools you need to get to a place where you can clearly hear God without distractions. He always has something to say about the storm in your life. Even if those words are simply: “Trust me.”
I know it is hard. Believe me, I have problems. But it is only when I am still before God some kind of peace comes. It is then I realise that I have given some of the things I’m worried about control over me. I have allowed them to take dominance, when in the end, they do not really matter. Since this is a choice I have made (however unconsciously), I can choose differently.
“Knowing” in this verse is not “head-knowledge” but “heart-knowledge” that leads to response/action.
Intellectually, I know my mother loves me. But I know it to my core – her years of loving action have left no doubt in my mind. So if someone were to tell me: “Sharma, your mother really doesn’t love you” my first reaction would be to laugh hysterically. The idea is that ridiculous. The truth of her love is concrete and cemented. It cannot be shaken. So must be our assurance of God’s love.
The word “love” in human terms causes mixed feelings. We accept that love is a beautiful thing but we have also been hurt, lied to, let down and betrayed by those who said they loved us. People who loved us broke promises or led us down paths we didn’t want to go or nearly destroyed our lives or ruined our hopes and dreams. Trust has been broken.
God’s love redeems the idea of love. He is love’s very essence. His Love is eternal and unselfish. He knows the worst parts of you and accepts you anyway. He will never abandon you or say you are not good enough. He will never lie nor betray you.
He can be trusted- absolutely and without any reservation. Release yourself to Him. Accept Him fully.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm Chapter 46 verse 1).
“…I am God”
Here is an earth-shattering truth: you are not God.
I’ll pause while that sinks in.
God doesn’t think like us and He isn’t limited in the knowledge of the present facts or future outcome. So because He knows best, He is absolutely the right person to be God.
Because we are not God, let Him be God over your life. Give Him control.
I’m a lawyer, not a surgeon. Put a scalpel in my hand and someone on the operating table will die. A surgeon cannot step into the court room or board room and seamlessly do what I do.
Professionally, I stay in my lane. It should be the same when it comes to who is in charge of my life.
I make good judgments – most of the time – and I am highly rational and logical (though my friends and family may disagree) but even I know I would be a pathetic failure at being God.
God has shown Himself through the Bible to be a worthy God. His attributes of goodness, wisdom, omniscience and omnipresence make him ideal to perform the role. He occupies a high position where He must be exalted because of who He is: Psalm Chapter 46 verse 10.
So, be still and know He is God.
Let’s talk to Him:
“Father, I’m thankful you are God and I am not. Take the reins of my life. Help me to get my mind and emotions to follow your lead. You ask me to exchange my worry for your peace. I gladly made the trade. Remind me of our bargain as I walk through my day.”
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. This year, she is committed to believing for bigger things.
Sharma Taylor previous articles may be viewed at:
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.