Be Still and Know That I am God
It had been stormy and intermittent but heavy bursts of rain had punctuated a grey and windy day. Now, as the evening light began to fade, the garden was, for the moment, a haven of peace. Above the Rectory the sky was a summer shade of blue. Wisps of high cirrus caught the sinking sun and shone bright pink. The half-moon hung crisply white, bright and clear. Birds wheeled and darted back and forth while around me leaves rustled and the wind chimes sung. As I stood, soaking in the peaceful scene, the words of the prophet Isaiah came to mind ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee’ (Is 26:3 KJV).
The words ‘Be still and know that I am God’ come from the penultimate verse of Psalm 46 (Ps 46:10). This is a psalm of mighty contrast. The awesomely destructive power of God [God utters his voice and the earth shall melt away (v6), what destruction he has wrought (v8)] contrasts with his power to save [God is our refuge and strength (v1), The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold (v11)]. ‘Be still and know’ is not an invitation but an order, for God goes on to say ‘I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.’ (Ps 46:10)
As we struggle with the impact of the present pandemic; as we are presented daily with the destruction that has been and is being wrought, and as we long for something recognisably normal, let us remember that for God the pathway to exaltation on earth lay through the cross and grave. ‘Except a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it lives alone; but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.’ (Jesus, Jn 12:24).
The red clouds spoke of a better morning to come, but first the light had to fade and die; the night fall. When that happens, can we, amongst all the surrounding noise, hear God’s command to be still and know. Hearing, do we trust his peace?
Rev. Philip Payne