A beautiful old hymn, “Be Still My Soul” was created through the work of three different composers. Katharina von Schlegel wrote the lyrics. One hundred years later Jane Borthwick translated this beautiful hymn into English from German. Finally, the great composer of Finland, Jean Sibelius, provided the tune from his music composition of “Finlandia.”
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last
Sometimes, one of the hardest things for a Christian to do is … nothing. Obviously, I need to explain.
Is it possible that we as Christians could often be just too busy? Even in our service for the Lord, could we be too busy at times?
We live in a very fast-paced society. Between our home life and job, we stay so busy, everything is a blur. Add to that the activity surrounding our church lives, and the days, weeks and months fly by. Before you know it, years are behind us, and we wonder where they went. How much of that time was used to relax and be quiet? I dare say, not much, if any.
Pastors are renowned for forsaking family time in favor of their church leadership responsibilities, but this isn’t wise. Others are just as busy in other activities until we are like bees around a hive, or ants over an ant hill.
The Lord expects us to rest. That is why He gave us a day of “rest.” That is the reason for sleep at night. The Israelites were to rest the fields every seven years. We all need rest. For the Christian there is an added benefit to rest. It is seen in the following verse:
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10)
Obviously, we are to rest from our activities, our busy schedules, and take a “time-out.” On several occasions in the Scriptures we read where Jesus went “up into a mountain to pray.” Peter went upon the housetop to pray. Daniel prayed three times a day, every day.
If Jesus, who is God, felt that He needed to get away from the crowds occasionally to be in solitude with the Father, should not we? No child of God, who has ever lived, including the Apostle Paul, has ever had a ministry as important as Jesus’ ministry, but yet, Jesus needed the time to be quiet, “rest,” before the Father in Heaven.
Notice also, that Jesus did not wait until He had an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle. He made the opportunity. He walked away and got by himself to be alone with the Father. That is what it means to “rest,” to “be still and know that I am God.” What do we do? We make excuses. Oh, we’ve got a million of them. Excuses, excuses, excuses, all He hears from us are excuses.
One of the most important things in the Christian life is to diligently study God’s Word, daily, but even then, we need to take the time to “be still, and know that I am God.”
Have you ever tried to talk to someone while they were busy doing something else? Did you feel like you were getting their undivided attention? Could it be that God experiences this same feeling when He says to us, “be still, and know that I am God?” I’m sure it is. We think we are great multi-taskers, and we can listen to God while doing all these other things that “just have to get done.” Apparently, the Lord sees it differently, or He wouldn’t be telling us to “be still, and know that I am God.”
What is the number one reason for church attendance, whether it is in a church building, a home or under a tree … to be fed and equipped for service? Why did Jesus go off by Himself to be with the Father … to be fed and equipped for service?
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
When Jesus was alone with the Father, the Trinity met as one. The Son (1), the Father (2) and the Holy Spirit (3) met as one. The one God met in all three of His roles as God. When we are alone with God, there are two, us and our one God we serve. When we and a family member meet alone with God, we are three, us our family member and our one God we serve. If we are in a congregation of believers, we meet as multiples alone with God. The fact remains though there are times that he wants to be alone with His children, one on one, and for us to “be still, and know that I am God.” I believe this is part of what the Apostle Paul was saying to Timothy in the following verse.
“And that ye study to be quiet (emphasis mine), and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Have you ever met with another person and they just rambled on and on? They’re talking like a Magpie and you can’t get a word in. Are we so much a chatterbox God can’t get a word in either? What He is trying to tell us is this; as He leads us to a quiet place, He is putting his fingers over our lips to hush us, saying, “Be still, and know that I am God.”