What does the first part of that verse even mean?
What does it look like?
As I write these words, I am sitting in my comfy chair with my laptop listening for the voice of God to direct my words.
Am I practicing “stillness before God?”
For years, I’ve heard others, especially women, talk about their “quiet time” with God which seems to occur most often in the morning either directly or shortly after waking. My assumption was always that this was a reference to a period they devoted to God through prayer, Bible study, and devotions. Those certainly can be “quiet” times with God. But two of those require the turning of pages, and all three require engaging the brain either in conversation with God or in reading. For this writer, it also requires the creation of a spreadsheet to track how on track I am with my endeavors.
Are these activities practicing stillness before God?
Back to my comfy chair. . . Even if I were not typing these words, not playing a game on my phone, not crocheting or knitting or eating, not scrolling through my FB feeds, not listening to a podcast, not doing several of these things at the same time, seemingly not doing anything at all. . .my hyperactive mind would still be racing in a million different chaotic directions.
Is it even possible to “be still and know that I am God”?
The original Hebrew word for “be still” is “raphah” which refers to “that which is slack” or “to let drop.” It can also mean “sink down, relax, let go, cease striving, or withdraw.”
As an aspie, I find them all problematic. Those of you not on the spectrum, how do you feel about this?
For as long as I can remember as an adult, I’ve wanted a sugar maple tree in my yard. Last spring, I planted one. This photo reveals the fruit of my labors, the beautiful multi-colored leaves of autumn, even though there aren’t very many of them.
God has revealed several truths to me through this little tree, but this is the one that fits today.
The tree does not appear to be doing a thing. Granted, this is a still photo, but trust me, when I was taking the photo, it was just standing there not striving at all. Its growth was certainly not such that it could be seen with the naked eye, even though its appearance is far different from the twig I planted last spring.
Being still before God is like that. It requires no effort at all.
Unlike the tree, though, thoughts good and bad have made it feel unnatural to sit still and do absolutely nothing except know I AM (YHWH).
So. . . I started with an amount of time I thought even I could achieve. I set the timer on my phone for 1 minute.
Attempted to picture God. A great light with no definable facial features.
He was embracing me.
I recently read that for an embrace to have lasting benefit it needs to last for at least 20 seconds. I’ve been blessed recently to be the recipient of several such hugs. And if I was the recipient, surely that must mean I was the giver as well.
There had been a long dry period preceding that group of hugs.
Although we cannot physically “feel” the effects of our Father’s hugs, I believe that being still before Him gives even greater benefit, at least until the day we can receive them from Him physically.
So, my “quiet time” is really a time of “ceasing striving.” That is the definition of raphah that best describes what it feels like when I am being still. Maybe one of the other definitions better describes what it feels like for you.
It is only after the being still, the ceasing striving, that the time of prayer, Bible reading, and devotions begins. And truly, the few times I’ve practiced this practice so far have been of tremendous benefit to the rest of my activities for the day. . . and to my soul.
For example, today, I discovered a new podcast called “Gratefully Nourished” and through that a new author named Ruth Haley Barton whose most recent book is titled “Sacred Rhythms” amongst which of the rhythms is being still before God and an older one called “Invitation to Solitude and Silence.” Both have been added to my list of books I would like to read.
How amazing, but not really considering the omnipresence of YHWH, that He would reinforce what He is trying to teach me via so many media.
Be still–cease striving–and know and be greatly blessed by YHWH.