Those four words in scripture are some of the most recognized, taken for granted, and difficult words to put into practice. Even if we contemplate them long enough to allow a sense of peace and well-being to come over us, does it last?
The author of Psalm 46:10 is actually giving us incredible instruction for making God very real in our lives. But, there is nothing easy about being still and/or knowing God. First, God is so infinitely multi-dimensional, so far beyond human experience – the very personification of wisdom, love, grace and justice – that if we even begin the contemplation process, we eventually give up, as our brains cannot take us that far. Secondly, time for that kind of contemplation is impossible in our busy-busy, multi-tasking culture. So, we read the words with a momentary sigh of receptive well-being, then move along to the next thing. And we miss it.
Evidence of our plight confronts us every day. It is displayed in our reactions to flights being cancelled, overdrawing the bank account, getting stuck in a traffic jam with a car full of screaming children, working for an unreasonable and overbearing boss, or having a vital kitchen appliance breakdown before company arrives. Every time stress, anxiety, frustration, fear and dread strike, we not only forget Who God is, but accessing His closeness is lost in the frenzy to correct or escape the situation.
Perhaps this is why Jesus set the example of getting away with His Father early, first-thing, every day. It is a vital pre-emptive measure that permits time for the spiritual reality of God’s constant Presence, Goodness, and Faithfulness to settle in our hearts and minds where that Truth can more easily manifest in our physical worlds.
God has actually presented each of us with an amazing opportunity to make a life-changing choice. In His grace, He puts it before us each day through unforeseen issues and challenges. Will I choose to default into my usual negative emotions and reactions? Or, will I praise God for the difficulties and hardships that acknowledge He is bigger than any issue life can throw at me? The blessing of the latter choice is that He opens my eyes to see His power and favor loosed on my behalf – working everything for my good. (Romans 8:28) The whole experience is so overwhelming that I am truly “stilled,” and completely undone by the intimacy of “knowing’ the God of the Universe personally.