In a world of constant input from ear buds, cell phones, Alexa, and 24-hour news, it is seldom that we experience a quiet stillness. There are some particularly early mornings as I get my coffee when the earth lays still. Car doors are not slamming, music is not blasting, dogs are not barking, the wind is not blowing, and the only noise is the beat of a dove’s wings. Those moments do something special to the soul. Stillness gives respite to the core of my being. In the stillness, I get rest from life’s chaos. In the stillness, I can hear the voice of God speak peace into the storms.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10
There is such a need for stillness in our chaotic world, and so little opportunity to experience it. Noise pollution clutters our hearts and makes the crises of our circumstances more debilitating. There always seems to be some bad news, some voice, some music, some advertisement, or some white noise keeping us from being still and knowing that there is a God who will be exalted among all nations. No one finds time to seek out such stillness, for time is never found. Time is MADE. And these days, it is vital that we make time to find a place and a time of stillness where God can be known.
The next trick is getting used to the stillness. We grow accustomed to the noise and busy activity. We are taught to value productivity. We can face the stillness and grow anxious, not knowing how to do nothing. It is easy to grow impatient with the stillness and fill the void with sound or look for something to do. But it is essential that we be. The temptation in our warped values is to see such time as a waste. What really have we accomplished? We didn’t DO anything! But the Psalmist implores us to be and not to do. To be still and in that stillness know that there is God. And thru that knowledge find peace in the fact that God will be exalted in the nations and throughout the earth.
What does a believer do to experience joy and peace in a time of pandemics, elections, riots, quarantines, injustice and economic uncertainty? However inexperienced or uncomfortable, believers make more time than they have to be still, to embrace that stillness as quintessentially vital, and to listen for the still, small voice of God.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. – Psalm 46:1-3