Our world at the moment is under attack. There is a sinister force that is impacting communities across almost every country. It is causing destruction, fear, isolation and sorrow. People are losing jobs, losing family members, losing money, losing connection, losing hope. It is very easy to feel that these are desperate and difficult times and we are fighting an invisible enemy.
The passage we are focussing on this week can help allay some of our fears in this situation. Psalm 46 speaks to us about the fact that we can depend on God in all circumstances, but especially ones where we feel like our “Nations are in uproar” (v6). There are recurring phrases that identify that God is our safe place, our refuge, our fortress, and that in the midst of the chaos around us He chooses to stay here with us.
Right at the commencement of the Psalm we are told that He is an “ever-present help in trouble” which means we have no need to fear. Not only is He our place of protection, He is right beside us as the battle rages on. He is not going anywhere. We, and our safety, are an important priority for Him.
In all of the descriptions of fighting equipment and wars that are included in this poetry comes the most well-known line from this Psalm: “Be still and know that I am God” (v10). Be still. What does it mean to ‘be still’? It does not necessarily mean to be silent, although sometimes that helps us be still. It means to stop doing. Stop trying to fix things through our own efforts. Stop running from one thing to another to try and shut out the world. Be still.
When we are still we can absolutely see God at work in our world. We can pause and wonder and pray and praise and bless and be blessed. In these times of heightened difficulty we will do well to take the time that has been forced upon us to stop our usual ‘doing’ and remain in His safe space and start ‘being’.
“Be still and know that I am God.” When we allow our minds and our bodies to cease from their usual activity it is then that we are able to truly know that He is our God. It doesn’t happen the other way around. When we stop, then we’ll know.
Let us not waste this gift of stillness that has come our way, even if it is imposed on us externally. God wants us to know Him, know Him well. He is our safe place.