By Pastor Mark Jordan
How are you doing with your restless soul syndrome? Are you finding any help and hope? Yesterday we explored waiting on God for help, and today we are exploring being still before God.
This might be the hardest thing for me. I don’t do still very well. I was a fidgeter in utero, and not much has changed in 44+ years. Even while being so sick with pneumonia the last couple weeks, I still pushed myself to the point of exhaustion until I couldn’t go any farther. Not smart. But I know I’m not alone in finding difficulty in being still. For those encumbered with restless soul syndrome, this is probably the most profound symptom and side effect. It’s as though we think that by doing, we can get to the point only discoverable by undoing. Think about that.
Stillness is lost in our hustle and bustle. Culture honors this. It even rewards it. Does God, though? Maybe, but maybe not. Probably not, actually.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)
How do you read that? As a comfort or challenge? For me, the answer is a resounding YES. It’s a comfort, because God invites us into a rest that includes stillness. The challenge comes, however, in recognizing how hard it is to achieve that stillness. Why is that? It comes back to what culture rewards, which typically is chronic busyness, trying to achieve and acquire good things at the expense of the great thing with Jesus. Do you need a litmus test? Let me give you one.
If Psalm 46:10 was written with a blank in the middle (for example, “Be still and know that _______ am/is God”) what would fill that blank? Money? Popularity? Prestige? Sports? Sex? Drugs? Alcohol? Career? How many blanks do you need to fill, scratch out, and start over before you get to the point of knowing you must be still and know that GOD is God? It’s a lot, I’m sure. I know. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Be still, and know that God is God, and you are not. That is freeing, I hope.
I want to offer you a challenge…the same I used to close out the message in worship on Sunday. I want you to take five minutes a day and just be still. For some that five minutes might seem like a drop in the bucket, but not everyone. Five minutes doesn’t seem like anytime doing something you want to do, but in times when you’re waiting without anticipation or great expectation, or while doing some kind of exercise, five minutes can feel like an eternity. Believe me. So work up to it. Start with a minute a day. Add a minute until you’re up to five. Then, just use that as a starting point. Keep adding time just being still before God. If you need to set a timer to hold you accountable, do it. God won’t care. He’d rather you be still than worry about how you’re keeping your focus. You never know…that timer might go off, and you realize you aren’t done. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
As a side note, I did have someone ask me about what happens when your mind wanders during the stillness. Wow, I get that! My stillness often gets interrupted with thoughts of worry about whether or not I left the coffee pot on, locked the doors, blew out the candles, or whatever. Know this, though: if your mind wanders, God’s didn’t. Bring your focus back to Him. Find Him in that stillness. He is waiting for you.
Tomorrow we will look at reflecting on God while waiting and being still. Will you join me? I hope so.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I know I don’t do so well being still. It reveals just how restless my soul really is. Forgive me. Help me to wait on you by being still, knowing that even when my mind wanders from you, you don’t wander from me. I praise you in the name of Jesus, and lift this prayer in His holy name. Amen.