Psalm 46:10-11 (NLT)
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
To be still is a wonderful and horrifying thing all at the same time. It is an act of faith in God so profound that you must risk it all to be completely sure. We are never sure if you think about it. People are constantly moving and the world seems to keep the momentum on high all of the time. Movers and shakers get the job done but sitters and waiters are the demise of well-intentioned plans. I am just as guilty as the next. If I could find a way to physically cram one more hour into every day, I would to get the long list of things done that I feel compelled to do. I am not apt to sitting at the feet of the Lord but running ahead of Him. Thank Jesus for His Amazing Grace that not only covers my indiscretion, but gently pulls me back into His Way. Many times we do to cover what we don’t. If I can be impressive in this endeavor, maybe others will not notice that I am not as impressive in this area. Solomon understood how meaningless it all really is when we know the God. (Ecclesiastes 1:13-14) Sometimes I don’t think we should call it “right standing” with God because most Christians are trying to “right run” the race of faith rather than accepting as the Gift of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I am not saying that we should all not be serving in our church and in the community to share the Love of Jesus. What I am saying is that it might be a whole lot easier to walk the walk and talk the talk if we took some time to be still and know that He is God.
God is constant. (Malachi 3:6 & Hebrews 6:17) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) His Spirit LIVES in us. (Ephesians 1:14) All of these triune qualities point to consistency and forever. God has created a plan for our life that is good with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) His Only Requirement to have this wonder life is that we seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) His Grace is sufficient enough to cover every sin that ever separated us from God and strengthen us despite our human weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) His Mercies are new for us each morning because God knew ahead of time everything we need to get through this day (Lamentations 3:23) and Jesus Christ already bore every burden on the Cross. (Psalm 103) Why have I included all of these promises and scriptures like this? Because I am just as guilty as the next person of coming to the Lord like a field of fruit and picking what I want to have rather than allowing the Lord to be who He is and do what He has planned which is better than I could even think to ask for. (Ephesians 3:20) His Goodness and Grace is unfathomable to my finite human mind (Isaiah 55:9) so I scurry about trying to fill in the voids left by doubt and ignorance. I must be still and take the time to KNOW that He is God and what all that entails to have the joy and peace that comes from such knowledge and the power produced by faith that comes from hearing the Word of God and believing it to be true.
Psalm 39:10-5 (NLT)
I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” But as I stood there in silence—not even speaking of good things—the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
I can relate to the words of David acting as the psalmist. When we try to orchestrate our own righteousness, we are destined to fail. “I will watch what I do, I will not sin in what I say, I will hold my tongue” all of these statements hold manmade good intentions, but the change for the man came the moment that he “stood there in silence”. “Lord, remind me” are the very words that can and will change our life. I understand what it means to get wrapped up in my tasks with good intentions forgetting that I am on a God-given mission. Love is drowned out by my to-do list repeating in my head. I expect people to be as overworked and stressed out as I am or at the very least notice that I am spinning out of control. I get agitated and snappy lashing out at loved ones who are oblivious to my plight. “Lord remind me” when the inner turmoil grows to the point of spilling over in my life that you are God. My days are numbered. (Psalm 139:16) My life is fleeting. (2 Peter 3:8) My entire life is a just a moment to you and each of us but a breath. (Job 33:4) To be still is to realize that this life is short, tomorrow is not promised so it is important to live each moment to its fullest. When we try to make more out of life, we fail miserably but when by faith we give God each moment we experience the joy that runs through His Kingdom giving us access to peace that is the partner of joy. Our heart was created to know God and experience a life of consistency found only in our Creator. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) When we allow the world to rule and reign in our mind, soul and body it takes over our life bit by bit until we forget that we were made for forever not to live for the day. God has made everything beautiful in its time, our time is now to discover the beauty that can only be found when we choose to be still and see what the Lord is doing rather than rushing around to do it for Him in doubt.
Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I am a “Martha” who must work to be like “Mary”. These two personalities combined are the people we should strive to be. There is a careful balance that can only achieved by knowledge of God and faith in Jesus Christ. Religion walks a fine line between believing and doing which sometimes gets crossed over. We cannot do anything to be saved, but can do all things in His Name. So do we do or not do? We must achieve a balance in the Body of Christ. We must know and then do. We must be still before we move. Martha was a worker. She was comfortable in her tasks as head homemaker and family orchestrator. Definitely a Type A personality, she was a take charge girl with her mind on the next ten things she must do. I hear you girl and am right there with you. Mary on the other hand was a heart sensitive person. She was fine sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His Words and allowing them to soak into her mind and penetrate her heart. Some may think she was lazy and truth be told maybe she was but in this instance her vulnerability made her obedient in doing the right thing at the right time. When she came to Jesus complaining that her sister was not helping her and finally fed up with working so hard while Mary just sat still, Martha learned a valuable life lesson. “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!” What are you worried about today? What is consuming your thoughts and commandeering your time? It is the thief that is stealing your faith and robbing you of victory today. It may seem like a well-thought out plan but is it God’s Plan for you! Have you consulted with Christ about your daily agenda or are you just going with the flow? The Lord told Martha, “There is only ONE THING to be concerned about.” To be still and know God means we must stop moving about, worrying, and planning to spend time with the Lord and know what He wants for us today.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the House of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple. For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
This is one of my famous passages in the Word of God and the most convicting at the same time. I have often shared that when our son was diagnosed with cancer my whole changed in an instant. Like a giant sheet full of wrinkles, it was shaken in the Son and smoothed out. All those things that I thought were important did not matter anymore. The schedule that I continuously kept along with its rigid routine were erased in a second and my calendar cleared. I could see clearly now what I could not see in the rush. It was a tragic and triumphant moment all wrapped in one. As the enemy tried to destroy me, Christ caught me in my decent. He gathered all the pieces of my shattered heart and changed me. Now as my flesh tries to shift back into “Martha” mode, I hear the Voice of the One who I love saying, “Are you sure you want to do that?” My running feet are slowing down. This pursuit all of a sudden seems so pointless. Where was I again? That’s right I was running the race of faith not the rat race of life. You can get turned around in a second. The devil loves to use distraction to delay us and detour us from doing the Will of God, meditating on the Word of God and choosing a way other than God’s!
When I was in the seventh grade, my physical education class was on the other side of the school from my geography classroom. It was difficult to change clothes and get from one place to the other with limited time. The rules of the school did not permit running in the breezeway but you could run in the grassy area that ran parallel. This was my routine most days in an attempt to make my very ancient instructor happy with me. One day as I took off running to avoid being tardy, I was suddenly snatched back as my sweater caught on a fence. They were building a new media center and a worker had knocked a portion of the chain link fence over. As I was running to class worrying about being late, I failed to notice that it was in my path. It had not only snagged my clothing, but also sliced a cut so deep in my neck that I did not even feel it. The horrific look on my friend’s face was the only reason I sought immediate help. As it turns out, I missed my jugular vein by less than a quarter of an inch. The doctors told my mom I was a lucky kid. I believe that it was the Lord who saved me that day and many more along the way when I was running and not paying attention to what I was doing intent on where “I” wanted to go!
Psalm 37:3-7 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.
Trust the Lord today. You will never trust who you do not know. To know God means that we must learn to be still in His Presence. This is not an excuse to do nothing but rather to make every move we make count for His Kingdom where it is meaningful and worthwhile. To live safely and prosper means that we remain steadfast in the Presence of God. The Lord will not rush ahead to keep up with you but He is constant. He remains true to His Word so we must know His Word to understand our current situation especially if it is not what we expected. Those who delight in the Lord will have their heart’s desire. When my husband and I were dating many years ago, we each had a thirty minute lunch break working on opposite sides of town. On the days that I could not wait to see him after work, I would drive all the way to his office to take him lunch only to spend five minutes with him and head back to the office. I would give up my lunch break or eat while driving just to be with him. I loved him. I wanted to spend every second with him. We have been married now for more than a decade. I still cannot wait to come home after work to be with him. My marriage to my husband should be no more important than my relationship to Jesus Christ. Each morning I get up two hours early to spend time in His Presence, and then share this time with you. I had no idea how valuable this time really was until a doctor looked at me to say, “I’m sorry but it’s cancer.” No one could help me but Jesus in that moment. He was my only comfort. He became my peace. If I had not known Him or meditated on His Promises before such heartbreak, I am not sure that I would have ever survived it. I do not share this to scare you, but rather prepare you for the greatest love affair you will ever know! He loves you more than you could ever love another. The Lord is ready to help you. He is ready to change every single detail of your current situation or circumstance for His Good. I do not get up each day in the right frame of mind, but somehow the Lord changes it. When I think I cannot make it through another day, He dumps a fresh load of grace, mercy and love right in my lap. I feel so foolish when everything I have worried about and stressed over comes together flawlessly just as He planned. So I dig deeper in the Word of God to find the faith I am obviously lacking so the next day will be better than the last. I know that the best is yet to come if I will choose to be still in the Presence of the Lord!
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.