“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
I became a Christian in university and as a new believer later in life, I started picking up some spiritual habits from my peers who were Christians most of their lives. One such habit was memorizing scripture by sticking post-it notes with verses written on them in places you look at all the time. For example, in our dorm you would find post-its on the bathroom mirror, on our bedroom doors, or on the fridge.
Psalm 46:10 was a favorite of mine that I posted on our fridge door. Of all the post-its, I have vivid memories of this one. For one, anyone who knows me, knows I cannot sit still. I cannot even stand still. I am on the move all the time. Whether it was back in my university days, or now as a mother of two young children living and ministering cross culturally; I. Can. Not. Be. Still. As a young Christian, I quickly realized that this personality trait was a symptom of something greater spiritually. I remember reading this verse in the Amplified Bible version:
10 Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
What was my condition? In this version, the answer was in these two words: “Let be”. I remember on the post it, in my hasty handwriting, I underlined and bolded these two words. Back then, these two words gripped me because I realized that being still before an all sovereign God, an almighty God, required letting things be. It required surrendering. That was my problem. I couldn’t just let things be.
As I revisited this verse this past week, I now know why I had trouble letting things go back then, and even now. The key is in the second half of the sentence: recognize and understand that He is God. In my university days, I was still a young believer. I was still struggling with how to have a meaningful relationship with an almighty Creator. So, in my attempt to let things go, I relied on myself because I didn’t know God enough to rely on Him. I didn’t trust Him enough.
To surrender and let things be, to be still, requires a deep understanding and recognition of who God is. This kind of deep understanding results in a deeper relationship with Him and thus a greater trust.
As a mother of two now, raising children, running a household, working part time, and ministering to migrant women in Southern China, experiencing any quiet, still moment is nothing short of a miracle.
But even in the chaos, I find I am able to “let be” with more ease than I did back in my uni days. In the past 8 years living cross culturally, I have come to know God deeper than I ever have before. I am breathing deeper, as I discipline and teach my children, knowing that God is holding their lives in His hand. I am smiling more, as I minister to women, knowing God is revealing Himself to them, and I did nothing more than just show up and be a part of their lives. I am singing more, as I am washing dishes or cooking, knowing that even in the mundane, His presence is near and He sees me.
This was the secret of being still that I didn’t fully understand back in university. I needed to know God deeply before I could learn to surrender and be still. His heart’s desire is actually so we can be His. I am still learning to grasp this truth. He rejoices and sings over me (Zeph 3:17). His love and joy for me is like a bridegroom for his bride (Is 62:5). He loves me with an enduring love (Ps 136). This love conquers nations for me, fights my enemies for me, and has made the ultimate sacrifice for me.
So, though I still struggle with being still physically, I often feel stillness in my spirit. I am quieted by His love. I can have sweet moments with the Lord, even in my busy, crazy schedule because I know Him more than I did before. He is reliable. He is faithful. He will help me. He will take care of it. His love will never fail. I can trust Him, and so my soul can rest. It is then that I can “let be”.