Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Be Still and Know That I am God'

'Be still and know that I am God' Psalm 46:10.

The classic verse, right? Walk into any Christian bookstore and you are sure to find this verse throughout. It's that standard verse that is quoted over and over again, often off-handedly and flippantly, without much thought. We've heard it so many times that we've stopped really hearing it. Or maybe it's because our society has gotten so busy, so rushed and so hurried that we can't fathom, relate to or understand such a verse anymore?

Recently, a friend gave me this verse as a piece of vinyl wall art to hang on my wall. We put it up in our kitchen above the desk where I sit and spend time with the Lord each morning. I love having these words right over the spot where I meet with Him. What a beautiful picture--to literally sit under His Word as I study His Word. It helps me to envision that His Word is all around me--above me and yet also right below my finger as I read. So comforting. So soothing.

Having this verse above where I sit also reminds me that He wants us to not just read His Word, but get 'all wrapped up in it'. We must allow it to steep into us (as a tea bag steeps in a cup of water), until we are changed. The longer a tea bag steeps in water the more flavorful it becomes. This concept is true of us as we steep on God's Word. We must sit and soak in Him long enough to change us, so that when we get up from our place of meeting we are transformed. When we get up to start our day, it is no longer just ourselves on our own, but we now have our Helper, the Holy Spirit, ignited within us to guide us through our day.

As I have met with Him and under Him, He has whispered over and over to me: 'Be still, be still my child. You cannot truly know me if you cannot be still.' Through this wall art hanging above me, in His gentle and loving way, He has brought me face to face with the sin I have struggled with most this year--being still. I have had to look this sin square in the face and repent. I have had to ask my sweet Lord and Savior to please forgive me for allowing the cares of this world to usurp Him.

God longs for us to linger with Him, to spend the one thing that we in our western civilization truly never have enough of--time. I've heard it said before that children spell love 't-i-m-e.' Why do they spell love in such a way? Because they need a relationship with us and a relationship can only be built with the building blocks of time. It takes one daily brick after another. It takes work, sweat, sacrifice and dedication. It's not for the faint at heart (or shall I say for the ADD at heart?). It takes focus. It takes intentionality. It takes commitment. If, in order for our relationships with our children to flourish, it takes our invaluable commodity of 'time', how much more so does our relationship with our Creator Father require such? Oh, He longs for our time. He wants our stillness. He wants us to give up our 'time' and give it to Him. He whispers 'let go... let go... please quit clinging so tightly. Please quit being distracted with all this world has to offer. Focus, sweet child, focus. Commit your ways to me...'

Was this all that the Lord wanted me to hear and to learn from this single verse? Of course not. As an onion has many layers, so does the Word of God. Mere days after hanging my wall art, I was sent an email from a friend regarding this very bible verse. I learned something that I had never known before. The word 'still' actually means 'weak'. This bit of knowledge unpacked this verse, and transformed it, giving a deeper, hidden message:

'Be weak and know that I am God...'

Be weak because that is the only way you are ever going to see Me show up, child. Be weak becauase 'my grace is sufficient in your weakness.' Come to me up under this Word of mine, weak-kneed and weary. You must see yourself as nothing. No self sufficiency can you bring. Come empty handed, willing to wait in my presence. Humble yourself under my mighty hand and I will lift you up.

Yes, in my weakness, He is strong. Only in my weakness and nothingness will I truly experience Him. Isn't it just like God to do things 'upside-down/topsy turvy', completely foreign and unknown to our natural inclinations? You see, when left up to us, we want to busy ourselves and fill every inch of our life with activity. When left up to us, we try to 'buck up' and handle all that life dishes out to us on our own. Our society tells us, 'Be strong. Be independent.' Being still and weak doesn't quite fit into the picture, does it? In fact, the word 'doing' is not even in God's initial equation. The doing comes only after we've surrendered before him, weak and still. The doing comes out of the quiet, small voice of Truth He whispers to us as we come up under Him in the quiet, morning hours. His Spirit's voice is like that of a gentle breeze that we will easily miss and overlook if our ear is not inclined to hear.

Surrender your time, your strength, your idols, my child. Be still, be weak and know that I am God. The all-encompassing, all fulfilling God.

Lord, thank you for this teaching. Thank you that there is always a deeper, hidden meaning to your Word and that you reveal yourself in supernatural ways--in ways that we cannot put pen to words. You reveal yourself when we are willing to surrender before you in stillness. We know this, because Your Word tells us so: "'No eye has seen, no ear has heart, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.' God has revealed this to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Cor. 2:9-13

Thank you, sweet Jesus, thank you.

Amen. And Amen.

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