In choir rehearsal at Kokomo First Nazarene the last couple of Wednesday evenings, we have practiced a Steven Curtis Chapman tune that I hadn’t heard for a few years, “Be Still and Know.” It is vintage Chapman: well-written, full of feeling and a sweet melody. I have been a Steven Curtis Chapman fan for years because of such gigantic CCM hits as “More to this Life”, “His Strength is Perfect”, “Speechless” and my all-time favorite “For the Sake of the Call.” But “Be Still and Know”, while I have heard it frequently over the years, has slipped under my impact radar and never really made that much of an impression on me.
But for the last three days, the idea of being still and knowing that God is God keeps coming back to me. Here is the first verse:
Be still and know that He is God,
Be still and know that He is holy.
Be still, oh restless soul of mine!
Bow before the Prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease…
What is it about stillness that seems to invite at least a deeper awareness on our part for the presence of God? Can He not be present in our busy routines? Certainly He can be. I take great comfort in that as I rush through the non-stop activities of each day that I draw breath.
God has created a world where working for our daily bread is an integral part of existence. Work is not a curse; Adam was only told after his sin in Eden that he would toil with intense sweat and difficulty for the fruits the ground would bring forth. From the beginning of Creation, even in the perfection before, in Milton’s phraseology, “Paradise was lost”, man was tasked with cultivating the soil and maintaining custody of his earthly domain.
My wife just murmured about how weary she is, a sentiment I hear her express on a fairly routine basis. I know that she would probably experience less of this fatigue if we didn’t have three young daughters who demand a disproportionate share of her devotion and physical stamina. Yet, this also is a key portion of the joy of life, even though a byproduct of propagating the species tends to emerge in the form of diminished sleep time. Not to mention that by bringing three more children into the world and raising them to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, we are fulfilling God’s intent for the world.
So earning an income and raising children are not only necessities, but are an essential component of the will of God for most of us. In short, they are good things. So are all the peripheral activities that accompany existence and bring us joy: food, church, music, books, movies, exercise, sleep and yes, that other three-letter word you’re all thinking.
I love it all…but it all takes so much TIME. And we only have a limited allotment of that precious commodity in this earthly life.
Perhaps that is why, for someone like me who still feels, on most days, at age 34, very young and full of life, looking at a world out there to be explored…Being still can seem so, well, counterproductive. After all, I could be doing something useful. If I’m being still, I’m not reading another book or downloading another article or writing another blog or helping save the world in some other way.
And before I realize it, I have begun to believe that I am indispensable to God. I’m not. The exact opposite is true: God is indispensable to me. And only when I recall that truth can I be effective for His Kingdom.
Be still and know that He is God!
Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come