Be still

The Lake District is known for its peacefulness. At Blenheim Lodge B&B, our location reflects this quality in abundance. In the stillness of the day or night, often and often over the last few days has the following Bible verse crept into my mind: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10)

Over the decades that have passed, have I wondered time and time again what the verse means when it admonishes us to ‘be still’. Here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind.

  1. As I endeavour to hear God’s voice, what comes to mind is Elijah’s encounter with the Holy One: ‘And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.’ (1 Kings 19:12) I remember one day attending a service at a Methodist church in Edinburgh. I was, at that time, searching for a congregation to join. However, what ensued put me off becoming a member. The minister, a lady, asked all those seated to empty their minds. To aid us, she encouraged us to engage in certain bodily movements which she proceeded to perform at the pulpit. The result? I was put off by what I thought of as unnecessary gimmickry which did not help me to be still and know the Lord. Much less could I hear God’s still small voice. To me, here was evidence of the noise of the fire instead.
  2. However, one effect of the woman minister’s sermon  was to make me wonder if I am indeed capable of emptying my mind in order to stop the rushing of thoughts that move in and out of my brain like restless waves. Despite my feeling that the so-called sermon was a waste of time, I entertained the possibility that for me to hear God’s voice, then I needs had to be still. For me, it is much easier being still in the physical sense than in my mental capacity. It was only many years later – approximately 25 – that I realised that I did not need to have an empty mind in order to know the Lord.
  3. What I learnt instead is that being still before the Lord is to focus one’s thoughts on Him and His Word. This sort of meditation, which means cogitating upon the Word and studying it – imagine the action of chewing so that one can taste and savour each and every aspect of a favourite food – is one aspect of what, I think, means to ‘be still’. Pray for understanding before studying the Bible and ask that this stillness before God will bring you greater understanding of He who is God.
  4. As a student, then a mother, then a business woman with all the stresses and worries of daily life upon my shoulders, my mind and my body are rarely still. I am often rushing about, thinking of this, that and the other, and multi-tasking. It is the lot of many people in this world: so much to do; so little time of accomplish what must be done; and all the little and large worries that accompany the present and the future. But the Lord says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ I suddenly realised I had to take stock of my life. Oh, it does not stop me from being the natural mother hen, but it has at least stopped me in my tracks for a moment. Why, I ask myself, am I fretting over things I cannot change? God is omnipotent; I need to be still and go to Him. I need to be still when I give my troubles over to Him.
  5. Lastly, look at the beauty around you – of people; of landscapes; of goodness of heart; and so on. God says to ‘be still’ and know that He is God. When we take stock and consider all that is wonderful around us, then can be also see a God in His creation.

So, here are my thoughts on these few words. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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