The Meaning of "Be Still"
Psalm 46:8-11 NASB
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving ( רָפָה - Raphah) and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
We've all had those days where everything seems out of control. The bills are stacking up, the kids are calling because something is going on at school, something's wrong with the car, and then your boss walks up to you and asks if you can work late because the company needs you. Welcome to life in the 21st century. How in the world could we ever relax in a world like this? How can we stop worrying, when there is so much to worry about? The answer is found in three scriptures.
The first is Psalm 46:8-11. In this scripture we are told to cease striving, or more literally, to relax, or rest, and know that He is God. In a broader context, this scripture is speaking to God being our refuge in times of trouble and stress. Yet this line, is the only line in the entire psalm that is a "doing" line, except it's not a doing line, it's more of a not doing line. It tells us that we are to rest and know that he is God. But what does that mean?
1 Peter 5:6-7 add some clarification to this when he writes, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
Peter is telling us that at the root of our inability to rest in God, and to let Him work things out for good, is pride. We think that we can do it. That we should do it. That we can somehow do it better or change the outcome. I'll work it out God, I'm good, thanks... except we can't. Not like He can. How would our lives look if we were to truly cast all of our anxieties, all of our fears, all of our concerns, all of life's stressors on Him and truly believed that He would work it out for good and in so doing relieve ourselves of the need to worry? Imagine if all we had to do is trust and follow... but that is all we have to do. Simply trust and follow.
Matthew also deals with this in Chapter 6 verses 25-34 of his book. In fact the chapter is aptly named "The cure for anxiety."* Verses 33-34 say, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
In other words, if we place God first, and chase after His design and desire for our lives, then we do not need to worry about tomorrow for he is going to take care of us. In fact in previous verses it talks about God caring for the flowers and the birds, and asks if you are not far more valuable to God than these? (Spoiler alert: You are)
This is a common theme throughout the scriptures. Just what we have here plus one more are:
1 Peter 5:6-7
And there are more, you can find many more that speak on this subject and they all say the same thing, let God do the worrying, that's His job. Our job is simply to trust and to walk.
So why do we resist? Because we want to be in control. Ah, yes, that original sin. Man wanting to be God, man wanting to control himself and his destiny, man wanting to sit in God's chair and believe that he can work it all out himself. Pride, simple, ugly, dirty pride. It's no wonder the Bible speaks to openly and bluntly against it. Look at what it costs us.
The question, oh Christian, is will you trust God or yourself? Do you believe that you'll fix it better than God? Perhaps you believe that things will work out better if you just take it into your own hands! The scripture is filled with examples of this being a bad idea, perhaps we should make note of that.
The more we surrender to God, the easier our lives become. The more we live His life, and learn to be like and act like Yeshua (Jesus), the better our lives become. The more that we stop stressing ourselves out and getting hostile with the world around us over nothing at all because we've stretched ourselves to the breaking point, the better our Church, community, and world will be.
Dear believer, let it go. Cast all your anxiety upon him, let it go, rest, relax, take a deep breath, and pray. Center yourself in Him again and in His word, and then move forward in a humble and surrendered posture. You'll be amazed at how much better your day gets.
* - This is not intended to deal with the mental health issue of clinical anxiety. If you believe that you are suffering from clinical anxiety, please see a mental health professional. God, Himself, has given us medical professionals and the ability to create medicines as part of His act of creation. This article is NOT to be construed in such a way as to deny the existence or severity of clinical mental health issues.