Be Still

I’m the proud mother of a 22-year-old who just graduated from university.  Yes I know I don’t look old enough to have a son that’s 22.  (Okay, who just rolled their eyes and laughed?)

In those 22 years, my husband and I have found that being parents can be a challenging, rewarding, frustrating, fun, incredible job.  The responsibility of raising a small baby into a man who loves God, is fully committed to doing His will, respects himself and others and has the right priorities with regard to people and things is daunting.  Every parent is faced with the challenge of embracing our child’s own unique giftedness, not crushing their spirit by making them fit into our own mold, but at the same time guiding them along the path to maturity.  It can be tough!

How many times as a parent have you said to your child, “Quiet” or “shuhhhh”, or “put on your listening ears” or when the frustration level has built, “Just shut up”?  We want our children to listen to us, learn something we’re trying to teach them, or sometimes just to give us peace and quiet!  Confess – how many times have you been tempted to say the same thing to children who aren’t your own but were causing a disruption in a public place?  More times than I care to admit!

In our culture today we can be surrounded by noise 24/7 – cell phone, radio, television, Internet, iPod, etc.  And we can use that noise to try to block out how lonely, or discouraged or disconnected or lost we feel.

Recently I was feeling under pressure with all the things I have to get done, personally and in ministry – trips to take, documents to write and edit (including this blog!), meetings to attend, emails to respond to, decisions to make.  A sense of being overwhelmed started to roll over me in the middle of the night – how in the world was I going to get everything done and meet all the different expectations?  But then in the midst of all that noise the Lord reminded me of Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God . . .”  Not just a “be quiet” but a “be quiet, set aside your busyness, your fears, your failures and trust me (God).”

Yet, how many times have I also missed God’s reminder to “Be still” because of all the noise going on around me?  Just like our children sometimes miss our “request” (command!) to be quiet because they’re too busy or too noisy, many times we too miss God’s urging to be quiet.

Be Still My Soul is a 17th Century hymn written by Katharina A. von Schlegel.  (If you’re not familiar with the hymn, YouTube has several performances of the song, including this one by Welsh singer, Aled Jones with slightly different words.)

I really like the second verse:

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
(Be Still My Soul – By Katharina von Schlegel, Translated by Jane Borthwick)

It’s a reminder that I can have assurance that God is guiding my future, just like he did my past. (Confidence!)

It’s a reminder that things I don’t understand now, I’ll understand in time.  (Patience!)

It’s a reminder that when I face tough times, the Lord who calmed the wind and waves when he walked the Earth has the power now to do the same.  (Trust!)

Confidence, Patience, Trust.

Do you need to hear God today in a special way?

Be still – he wants to talk to you.

Naomi Frizzell is the Lausanne Movement's Chief Communications Officer.