Be Still and Know . . .

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38-39 ESV

Mary and Martha. Just reading those names evoke images of a bustling Martha making her home perfect and welcoming for her Lord, Jesus, as Mary sits at his feet drinking in the teaching of her Savior.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40 ESV

Bless her heart.

She meant well.

She had all the best intentions of the world.

She was doing what she had been taught was “the right thing to do,” and she was doing it with all her might. It was the way she could show Jesus that she loved Him, right?

But the love she meant to show soon became tempered with self-righteousness and pride. She couldn’t figure out how Mary, raised in the same household as she, was just sitting there, doing nothing, while she, the good daughter and sister, acted as servant. Their mama taught them better than that, didn’t she?

What did Jesus say to Martha?

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Mary was learning that the only way to truly be in tune with Jesus was to be still.

Martha, ever the pragmatic sister, had to be reminded to stop, and to open her heart and her mind to Jesus. She had to be still in order to hear Him, and to let Him into her heart.

Be-still-520x245I have always struggled with the “should” and “ought to” tasks in life. If I do good things in my own power, who gets the glory? If I’m constantly trying to take care of the messes before I have to admit them to God, what am I gaining? He knows the number of hairs on my head. Knowing what is on my mind isn’t much of a stretch.

If I experience a form of success, I learn to depend on my own brand of “goodness.” If I fail, I wonder why God wasn’t listening. Bitterness seeps in. Oh, but I kind of forgot to consult You, didn’t I? Hmmmm . . .

When I reach this point – and I do, often – I have to remind myself to BE STILL. God is there. He hasn’t moved. I have.

Psalm 46 takes my eyes off of myself, and puts them squarely where they need to be – on God.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

I found the following video, and I hope you enjoy it. It’s an acoustic version of “Be Still” by Steven Curtis Chapman that is on the album “Deep Roots,” in which he is accompanied by his father, brother, sons, and other instrumentalists. It’s a blessing to me, and I hope to you, as you strive, along with me, to BE STILL.

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

It seems like in our crazy, crazy world many of us are so busy we barely have time to breathe. We run ourselves or our kids from one activity to the next, our schedules so full we have to pencil in something as important as eating supper as a family. We begin to wonder how we can do it all.

It’s not only our bodies that are busy but also our minds. Our thoughts are filled with worries like health scares, family problems, financial insecurity, or that persistent political thorn in everyone’s side this election year.

Hurry and worry. They are a pair. We try so hard to make our lives perfect that we forget how to live for Christ. The anecdote is spelled out simply for us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

How simple is that? Yet how often do we remember it? I know I’m guilty for not following that verse nearly enough. If our minds and our bodies are constantly busy, how can we ever hear God speaking to us? His words get jumbled up with all the other crud stashed in my brain, things that I can’t fix, no matter how hard I try. Things I’m not even supposed to fix. Problems that God has promised He will handle. So why is it so hard to be still and turn it all over to God?

Because I am human and a sinner who needs forgiveness.

bethesda churchDear God, help me to be still so I can hear your voice and feel your loving presence. Help me to put all my baggage in your care, for you alone are our protector from evil. Let me be still and trust in you. Amen.