I haven’t written many songs lately. A friend asked me recently if I was still writing, and I had to be honest. Not much. It’s not because I don’t want to or even because I don’t have any ideas to pen. I simply haven’t had time. Life with a 3-month-old, a 13-year-old, and a full-time job keep me quite busy. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing but the days go by so fast I don’t even always realize how much time passes between attempts to sit and write or even just sit and worship. If you have kids you can probably relate. Fortunately, my daughter loves music so that definitely helps. One thing I have managed to keep doing, is serving in church worship, a few Sundays a month thanks to an amazing husband and an amazing church nursery. A few Sundays ago, during worship, I heard the Lord say very clearly “I am not afraid of anything. Nothing makes me anxious”. To explain, I have struggled pretty severely with anxiety since the baby was born. I have struggled the last few years but the hormones and exhaustion have caused it to escalate some. I have been working hard, through prayer, and really focusing on the triggers and causes to try and work through it, but it’s still hard almost daily. So, this Sunday…. These words spoke to me in a biiiiiig way. The Lord often speaks to me in times of worship which is why I know that it is important to make time for it. But I have also been reminded lately that there are different ways to worship, when song isn’t an option. Last week I led worship in the Middle School classroom and as I was preparing, those words He spoke were echoing in my head. Lord led me to the passage in Psalm 46, verse 10 that reminds us, “He says, “Be Still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””
I thought about this passage, and what it means to Be Still. I decided to dig a little in scripture and came across these additional passages regarding this command to Be Still.
“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.””
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
“Tremble and do not sin; When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.”
In general, I don’t like being still. I like to be doing. I call myself a busy body because I enjoy having tasks, and projects, working and moving pretty much all the time. But truthfully, I don’t think that’s what the scripture is commanding in the above passages. Taken literally, as we often do in the English translations, that seems like the logical referral. But when you break down the Hebrew words and what they tell us, it shines a light on the true meaning of Being Still.
Psalm 46:10 the Hebrew word used here is raphah. It means to cease, or let alone. To become feeble or to let drop. In this verse, in this context we are being commanded to stop. To literally remember our humanness and drop what we are trying so hard to hold onto with our human hands. To remember who God is, and let Him be God. We try so hard to fix things ourselves, to take all of the workload onto our own shoulders when God is more than big enough, more than strong enough, more than able…and willing, to do it for us.
Exodus 14:13-14 the Hebrew word is yatsab. It means to stay in one place, to remain, to continue. Here the Israelites are being reminded that if they want to see the Lord move, they need to get out of His way. To stay put and wait on Him to move instead of rushing ahead out of fear and trying to make things happen in their own strength. Taking action with an anxious heart often leads to disaster. Instead we are reminded to wait on the Lord.
Psalm 37:7 the Hebrew word is damam. Is means to rest, to hold peace, to quiet oneself. I imagine it to be like a screaming child, throwing a tantrum, and our Father gently saying, “It’s ok, I have you, calm down. You don’t have to be afraid. Take a deep breath, stop being upset and let me handle it”.
Psalm 4:4-5 is the same Hebrew word as the above, damam. Scripture uses the word silent here, but again we are commanded to hold peace, to quiet oneself. This word also means to be dumbfounded or astonished. This passage reminds us to be thankful, and humble before the Lord. And not to sin, by walking in fear but rather trust in the Almighty who is more than able, and remember just who He is and what He is capable of.
I am so thankful for the Words Be Still. I am so thankful that we serve a God who knew our nature well enough to remind us more than once that we need to stop, quiet ourselves, let alone our agenda, stay put, and wait on Him. Even in the chaos of life, those are truths that bring freedom from fear.