“Be still and know that I am God . . . ” – Psalms 46:10
Anyone that knows much about me knows that I am a fitness buff. I love exercising. Yes I am warped and messed up. But there is nothing that makes me feel better than a hard workout, a good bike ride, or an excrutiating run.
Part of being a fitness buff means that I watch what I eat, listen to my body, and take care of my equipment. But there is something else that is important – rest.
Rest allows the body to regenerate and gives stressed muscles an opportunity to recover. It is during recovery that the adaptation from training hard occurs. Sleep allows the body an opportunity to regenerate; the body releases growth hormones that aid repair stressed muscles from hard workouts/races. “Run Less Run Faster”
Without sufficient rest, the muscles and bones in your body ware down, and with too much work, can cause injury.
This is something I had to learn the hard way. A few years ago when I first started running, I got a little too ambitious. I was proud of the fact that I was working out hard 6 days a week. In the process, I developed runner’s knee and had to quit running for several months. To this day, I pay very close attention to how my body feels. Any sign of fatigue and I make sure I cut back and allow my body to rest.
What is true for the physical body, is also true for your spirit. You need rest. Not just a vacation, but a time to sit back and relax in the presence of God.
In Psalms 46:10 we are told to “Be still and know and know that I am God,” this could be translated “Shut up and listen!” and that’s not easy to do. In our crazy paced world of instant gratification, fast food, and drive through mini-marts, sometimes the last thing I want to do or have time to do is to be still.
Being still can mean many things to many people. To one person it might mean shutting down the electronics and sitting quietly. To another person it might mean putting on some worship music and focusing only on God. And to someone else it might be simply slowing down for a few days to rest and relax. But here is something interesting about the phrase “be still.” The words “be still” comes from the root word rapha which means “to be weak, to let go, to release.” In other words, we “let go” and surrender in our weakness to the power that comes from God.
Scripture talks a lot about our weakness. It says:
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Then there is this scripture:
“The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
As we remain still before God, whatever that entails, we are in essence coming to Christ and releasing everything to him. We are saying, “all that I am is yours, all that I want to be is in your hands, and all that I am not comes from you.” We are allowing God’s strength to infuse our souls and bring new life and breathe energy into our spirit. When we are still before God, we are allowing him to do in us what we can’t do for ourselves.
Recently, I jumped on my bike in search of some solitude that I often find pedaling my way down a countryside road. As I moved along the road, I noticed things that I don’t see when I am hurrying to work in my car. I saw all the garbage that cluttered the ditch, the dead carcass of who knows what, and odd automobile parts. I also noticed the beauty that I don’t normally see. I breathed in the fresh spring air. I saw the deer grazing in the wheat fields. And I saw the simple little pleasures that please the eye.
As I slowed down my pace from where I usually dwell, something brilliant happened. I felt free. I felt alive. I felt peace. And somehow in all of that I felt rested and able to face the challenges that impose upon my life.
As we are still before God, we are able to do, what God asked of Gideon. We are able to “go in the strength that we have.” (Joshua 6:14)