Be Still




“Be still, and know that I am God.”  PSALM 46:10A


I’m quite sure that many of us are familiar with this verse. We often associate this verse with being quiet and still before God, or think this is a verse that is used when we go to a retreat to spend time with God. When I attended a spiritual retreat a few months ago, this was the exact verse that was used on the cover of the file that was given to us. I looked at the verse and started to think – “What does it mean to be still? Why are we told to be still? Don’t I already know that He is God?”


A few days into the retreat, the leader showed us a glass filled with liquid taken from a river nearby. It was obviously ‘dirty’, brown and cloudy from all the dirt and sediments you would expect to find in a river. The glass of river water was placed in a corner of the room where we met every day for our group sessions. The next day, the water started to look less brown and the sediments started settling at the bottom of the glass. Amazingly, after a few days, the water had become completely clear, and you could see that a layer of all the dirt and sediments had settled at the bottom of the glass. The leader didn’t have to say much, and even though it took a few days, it was a powerful illustration of the importance of being still.


What does it really mean to be still and see God clearly for who He is? Oftentimes, I have the Bible open before me, and I’m going through the motion of reading it, hoping that He will speak to me, but am I really being present before Him? I realised that it took time and intention (a spiritual discipline or habit that takes time to be cultivated), to take oneself away from all the hustle and bustle of life, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And just sit still before the Lord, let all the distractions and busyness of life, worries, fears, anxieties, plans, thoughts about what to do next, tangled emotions from conflicts (essentially all that is stirred up and clouding our hearts and mind) take time to SETTLE (not disappear) at the bottom. It is then that we see God clearly, and it is then that we are ready to hear from Him.


The thing is we don’t have to go to a retreat or a resort in the mountains to do that. Find a time of the day where you can be in a quiet place for a few minutes. You will be amazed what a few minutes of being silent and still before God can do for your soul. It’s simply what it is – being still for a few minutes, coming before God’s presence with no agenda and handing over the control to Him. When we earnestly come before Him, seeking to be in His presence, He will help us – to strip away our guards, masks, fears, anxieties, frazzled emotions etc. and let our hearts and minds be able to focus on Him in order to see and know Him for the loving and Almighty God that He is. I find that this little exercise really helps me to recalibrate and tune myself to him before I even start praying or reading the Bible during my daily quiet time. It helps me to really enjoy being in His presence (knowing who He is, and who I am in relation to Him) instead of going through the motions of doing something out of duty or habit mindlessly or half-heartedly.


Is your glass getting too cloudy for you to see God clearly? Maybe it’s time to take a few minutes to be still…