Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30 - Daily Challenge - Be Still

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted among the earth."

This morning I awoke to a quiet house. Due to my love of sleep, this rarely happens, as it is one of my children who normally serves as my alarm clock. As I began to pray over the day, Psalm 46 came to mind.

This is a psalm that illustrates God's sovereign protection over all times of misfortune. The first verse declares the nature of God. He is our strong refuge and helper in trouble. The psalmist describes both destruction caused by natural catastrophes as well as by human wars, the two leading causes for mass casualties. Throughout the psalm, he then describes God's involvement of protection within these different environments. The focus of the psalm is that even though the earth and kingdoms may pass away, the kingdom of God will not fall. Therefore, in light of this knowledge, we should be still and recognize God for who He is. God is present with us and is our Fortress.

Being still is the last thing people want to do in times of chaos. Our survival instincts kick in and unfortunately, we often do not surrender our trust to God. We do not recognize that while He is in ultimate control over this earth, there also awaits for us an unshakable kingdom. As believers, we have nothing to fear. Instead, we rally behind fear and react accordingly. However, our focus should be resolute on the Creator and Sustainer.

Being still does not mean having a laissez-faire attitude and passively giving up the battles that come to life. Rather, it is taking time out in the midst of those battles to gain perspective and as a result maintaining a sense of peace throughout the course, no matter the result. Therefore, we can exalt God, in every circumstance.

The greatest illustration I can give of our tendency to respond verses how we ought to respond comes from the movie "Titanic." After the ship began to sink and everyone knew there were not enough lifeboats, chaos erupted. People were filled with fear, despair, anger, hopelessness, etc. Yet, there is a touching scene of stillness. When most all have either refused to recognize or resigned to their fate, a single violinist begins to play, "Nearer My God to Thee," thus illustrating his resolve. His colleagues join him. Amidst the disorder, rage, and seeming injustice, there is recognition that God is still in control. You can sense the stillness in the recognition of God's sovereignty. Though there are images of death, destruction, and despair, in the background is the sweet music, acknowledging that in that moment, a believer is choosing to draw nearer to God. He is not playing out of resignation, but rather out of comfort and peace.

It does not have to be catastrophic events in which we exercise this practice of stillness. We experience "minor catastrophes" everyday and have the choice how we are going to respond.The children begin to misbehave and we turn to anger rather than grace. Traffic is terrible on the way home and we react in road rage. The car breaks down, the phone rings one too many times, the basement floods, you have one too many deadlines, a storm takes out the car, a person asks one too many favors. The list goes on and on. There are constantly misgivings that tempt us to react to chaos rather than to respond to God.

The Challenge today is to look at what areas are you tempted react to the chaos instead of responding to God by being still and recognizing, in each moment, that He is God. This requires us being intentional about taking the time to be still and using that time to recognize and exalt God for who He is.

To see a video clip of the Titanic scene mentioned above, click here.

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