“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
Psalm 46:10 is my mid-life verse. It comes to me over and over through a variety of life circumstances and has for the last ten years. It’s a verse that addresses my family’s call to be Christ’s hands and feet in Uganda, as well as being my calming invitation for when my anxiety spikes. The words slow me down before the moment of panic hits as if to say, “I gotcha, Kysia. Let me take the lead.” Words from a God who does have me and is willing to walk beside me with his arm gently guiding my steps one at a time if I would just let Him. It’s a verse that challenges me to stop and ask the question, “How can I refresh in the peace of God’s goodness if I’m plugging into the world of ongoing activity and chaos?”
Right now I’m sitting on our back porch. It’s a cooler May than normal for Arkansas and I’m thankful for that. The birds are conversing in the trees beyond the screened in porch while the dog is lazily basking in the sun (sun that I am so happy to see due to the excess of rain lately!) A cool breeze ruffles the leaves of the trees. Echoing through my heart is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Less than a block away, traffic hurriedly passes by. Two miles away my kids are diligently working through their last week of school preparing for finals that begin tomorrow. A couple of miles the other direction my husband is at work trying to wrap up last minute details before leaving for fourteen days to Africa. To top it off our house has garage sale items stashed in one corner with Uganda Mission trip items stashed in another and the summer calendar is strewn out on the sofa waiting for final details of when the cousins are coming and if we are going to host a student from New Mexico for a week. Whispering on my heart is the faint sound of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
What does it mean to actually, “Be still and know that I am God”?
How do we recognize God during the “gotta-go” times in life?
Do I sit on my porch swing trying to quiet my thoughts, pretending I’m in the presence of God, when the grocery list keeps popping up?
I’m not sure forcing myself to be quiet and sit still is going to be enough to help me recognize God’s omnipotent power. So now what?
This last Sunday, our Junior High Sunday school class talked about giving God glory. One of the sections of scripture from the lesson was 1 Chronicles 16: 28-29. It stumped me a bit, because I’ve been pondering all of the questions above. The scripture says, “Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”
I’ll be honest, I stumbled through this scripture because I wasn’t grasping what the word, “ascribe” meant. I wanted to substitute ideas like, “[Follow] the Lord, all you families…” in for ascribe, but that didn’t quite fit the scripture.
When I got home I looked up the word. Here’s what Webster’s taught me: “Ascribe – to refer to a supposed cause, source, or author” or as the synonyms, (which helped me tremendously more) “accredit and attribute”.
So to ascribe to the Lord is to give Him credit for who He is and what He has done. I’ve never thought of “Be still and know that I am God” as stopping to give God due credit, but now that idea resonates with me. Usually, I sit and try some form of meditation, but get caught up in all that “I” have to do, instead of giving recognition to God for all that He is, all that He is going to do and all that He has already done. Being still doesn’t necessarily mean being quiet. It means using my voice to praise God instead of worrying about my check list and problems.
So what does that look like for me in my setting right now with the amazing background sounds of the birds? It means recognizing God as creator and being grateful for a moment to enjoy the sounds of creation while getting to work in a cool breeze.
For my husband leaving, it means recognizing God as a protector and strength giver. God gives from His strength generously when we ask. As my husband draws from God’s strength, it will help encourage others going through problems even if he doesn’t understand those problems.
For my children, it means recognizing God as a teacher. Finals are a big week, but God is bigger- as are His plans. Pass or fail, there is still a road to travel. Giving that road to God, recognizing God teaches us through both the good and the bad. That is truly awesome in itself. The thought that God still loves us whether we make the mark or not is something to give praise about.
For my family’s summer calendar, God is my guide with the master calendar. Checking in with Him and asking wisdom over where my family needs to go and what we need to do, is the best plan. Then stepping forward day by day trusting that God will give direction opens the opportunity for demonstrating faith; plus, God knows what we need. He includes both rest and adventure.
For those, “gotta-go” busy times, being still may not mean running to a private oasis to be quiet in order to listen. Instead, it may simply be stopping to give praise where it is due, taking account of blessings given and moving forward trusting God’s grace will cover as we go.
“Be still” is an opportunity to “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.” Meaning we give God recognition and praise for all that He is and all that He is going to do through us. It isn’t just a porch swing trying to calm the mind before a nervous breakdown. Being still is an act of worship where we ascribe to God His glory.