“Be Still to Know God”
~ “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) ~ The concept of being still is something that parents of small children have a difficult time comprehending. The parents I talk to always seem to be on the go, travelling to sports events, going to Scouts, or arranging play-dates and birthday parties. I too seem to be on the go constantly. Why do we do this? Why do we seem to fill every waking moment with activities for our children? For me, it is about keeping my children occupied, helping them develop social skills with other children, allowing them to explore their talents, and providing them with opportunities I never had as a kid. Sometimes I feel pressure to over-schedule my children so they don’t miss out or, if truth be told, so that I don’t look like a bad parent. It is Sophie who continues to remind me about ‘being still’. Sophie can be a very out-going young girl who likes to play, investigate nature, and do art. Yet, there are times when I find my daughter sitting silently in the yard or in the back of the car. I ask her, “What is the matter? Is everything alright?” Her reply is always the same — “I am just having quiet time, daddy.” After her quiet time is over, about 10-15 minutes, she often goes off to play or read, but once in awhile she comes up with very deep questions or observations. Her questions sometimes are about things she has been learning at school or in her small group at church. Probably two of the deepest questions I can recall her asking were “Why did Jesus have to die?” and “Why did Judas kill himself?” Many times I find myself challenged because of these questions. Yet it was not the challenge of answering questions that Sophie taught me; it was that ‘being still’ can help me to ‘hear’ what God has to say. The writer of Psalm 46 reflects on the wondrous things that God has done. He reflects on God’s ultimate control of nature and nations. No matter what happens, God is in control. By ‘being still’ and reflecting on events, the psalm writer could see God’s hand in the events going on around him. Christ too saw the importance of being still. Throughout the New Testament we read about Jesus withdrawing from the throngs of people about him to pray and reflect on God’s will. During Christ’s final few days on earth, he withdrew with his closest disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Asking these disciples to pray, Jesus moved a little further away to pray on His own. There He struggled, cried and sought God’s help and strength, ultimately accepting God’s will. Like Christ we need to spend time seeking God by being still, whether that be reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, or sitting quietly. Given all the distractions around us, how can we find time to ‘be still’? The first step is carving out the time. Look at the pattern and routine of your day. What are you doing to ‘put in time’? Start by carving out a 15 minute block for yourself. Schedule it in your calendar or phone. If it is scheduled, then you are more likely to do it. As you spend more time ‘being still’, you will see God working in your life through the passages of scripture you are reading or by praying about events occurring in your life. Of equal importance is teaching the value of ‘being still’ to your children. Schedule some quiet time for them to listen to a Bible story, read a story by themselves, or spend their minutes before bed in prayer. ‘Being still’ doesn’t come easy. It is a discipline we must develop so that we can ‘know God’ and hear what He has to say. But, how much more rewarding will it be to witness God’s hand in the things we do everyday and take for granted.