Rush, rush, rush. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Is this the way you feel some days? Is this the way your days are sometimes? I know that I have days and weeks and even months that feel and are this way. Then I remember a passage that is meant to bring me to a stop. It is the first phrase in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God….”
It doesn’t say “STOP,” but I know that I cannot be still if I am busy running hither and yon, and rushing from one place, meeting, or phone call to another and wanting to get more done than a day allows. To be still I need to stop, just stop whatever I am doing, and turn to the God of all creation.
How often do you just sit quietly by yourself and let the presence of God surround you? If you’re anything like me, it is not very often. I have tended to do it more when I have been in the car on long drives by myself or on the occasional walk through the wooded hills of western Wisconsin.
I think of Jesus; he had a busy schedule, three years to prepare the Disciples to take the Church into the whole world beginning at Jerusalem and reaching to the ends of the earth; healing the sick, injured and broken hearted; people coming to him for healing, for themselves or the people they loved. Jesus’ time was always being sought by the people around him.
Still, and maybe because of the demands on His time, He still went to different places to find some time alone. When He began His ministry in Capernaum, the men who became His disciples came looking for Him in the morning and found that He had gone off to be by Himself.
On several occasions He got into a boat to go to the other side of the sea, to where the crowds were not present, for time to be alone and to pray and be with the Father. Sometimes the crowds ran around the Sea of Galilee to meet Him where he was going. At other times He met new crowds looking for Him and the ministries He had to offer.
On one occasion Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and He fell asleep. This may have been His pattern; the gentle rocking of the boat as it moved across the normally calm waters of the Sea of Galilee would be a nice way to drift off to sleep. Then a storm came roaring over the Golan Heights, and He was woken by the fishermen who were frightened of the storm. When He was woken up, He calmed the sea and told the winds to calm down, causing the disciples to wonder even more about who Jesus really was.
As important as Jesus’ time on earth was for humanity, for our salvation, Jesus still showed us that time alone with God the Father was and is important for all of us. Think about it; Jesus was God incarnate, yet time alone with the Father was crucial for him. How much more important is it for us? Jesus, in His life not only taught with words but also with His actions. He tried to model for us how we can survive in this world, which is not fair, which is not gentle and which is seldom easy to live in.
These words, this call to take time to “Be still and know that I am God,” are not just words from your pastor to you, they are also words from your pastor to himself. I have to admit I like being busy, I like being needed, but I also have to admit that if I don’t spend time alone with God, it affects my ability to hear God when He is trying to get my attention. Let each one of us commit to taking a few minutes today to stop and be alone with God.