“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46: 10
They were fishermen out at sea — but they were not at home.
The rain began to fall as the sun began to set while the sky grew bleaker. Dark clouds rolled in over the horizon and fear began settling into the hearts of the fishermen. Their master was asleep and they felt so alone.
As the storm began to swell and the waves began to rise, these fishermen began panicking and calling out for help. Surely, they thought, they would die. And they were so afraid.
Eventually, they called to their master, their teacher — the one that they had abandoned everything for. “Lord,” they cried, “Do you not care that we are going to drown?”
Jesus arose, rebuking the waves, and the storm ended. Then, he turned to the fishermen and said, “Do you still have no faith?”
Where is our faith?
Psalm 46 is probably one of the most well known Bible passages and arguably the most quoted verse in the blogosphere. “Be still” and know that He is God.
Yet, how are we to be still when the storms of life come? For one thing is certain, life is full of storms.
He was a young man who could never understand why his parents never loved him. She was a young girl afraid that her father would come home angry again. He was an old man left to die alone. They were a young couple who thought their money had run out. He was a broken man who could not get past his addiction to pornography. She was a depressed woman afraid her husband no longer loved her. He was a tired man afraid that life had passed him by. She was a drug addict that realized her life wasn’t worth it. They were an old couple that could not last another day together.
These are the kind of stories that people have — these are storms. So they cry and they scream and they fear that this — this will be the storm that destroys them. Perhaps this is their last cry: “God, where are you!?”
His words in reply are: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
I am no Hebrew scholar but I know enough to know that there are more to these words than can be conveyed in English.
The Hebrew word that is translated “Be still” (Or in some translations, “Cease Striving”) is derived from a word that literally means “rest or sink”. My best translation of the actual term is: “Stop”, “Rest”, or even, “Let it sink.” Essentially, what the Psalmist is saying with these words is: “Stop trying to stay afloat.”
The Hebrew word that is often translated know is very similar to the English word that it is translated as; however, the knowledge conveyed here is not head knowledge but a deep and intimate knowledge — a heart knowledge rather than a head knowledge. In fact, the word (Yada) is often used in the Old Testament as a euphemism for sex between a husband and wife. Adam knew Eve. It conveys intimacy. Now, obviously, the word is not used as a euphemism for sex here; however, that does not lessen the fact that it is conveying intimate knowledge.
Thus, what this simple line is saying is this: “Stop trying to fight the waves and stay afloat on your own and know intimately that He is God.”
I wonder why we fight our storms so hard. Perhaps it is out of fear. But, at the end of the day, I think that the fear that sets in during the storms of our lives comes from the idea that we are utterly alone. We believe that I have to make myself lovable. I have to overcome this addiction. I have to make this marriage work. I have to make ends meet at the end of the month. Everything is up to me.
God’s response to fear in this Psalm is: “Stop trying to fight the storm on your own and rest in me.”
There are times when we have to give up. Times when the storm has become too powerful for us to overcome. It is in these times that we can just fall on our knees in worship and cry out to God: “Take this from me.”
If God is for us, then who can be against us? What do we have to fear?
When the storms of life come, sometimes we just need to let our boat sink and let Him catch us.
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” – James 5:13-16 (NIV)