I found a pendant in a local craft store. It was engraved with the words be still. I kept that little pendant close to my heart all throughout my sophomore year of college. It was a constant reminder for me to be still in God’s presence despite the war within and the one without. Lord knows, I needed it. I was in the middle of extreme chaos that stemmed from my own emotional trials and sudden, unexpected health challenges I was facing. Simply put, I needed reminding that God was sovereign over my battle and I was not.
Psalm 46: Be Still and know that I am God
I love Psalm 46. It’s one of the scriptures I cling to in times of trouble. Verse 10, which says, Be still and know that I am God is probably the most well known verse in the whole passage. But, what does it even mean to be still in chaos? How can I be still in the face of uncertainty? Sure, it’s a beautiful verse but if we don’t understand what it really means, we won’t be able to live it out.
Maybe you’re in a troubling season right now, and you’ve heard the words be still quoted everywhere. Maybe you’re getting tired of it because you can’t imagine how you can be still in the middle of what you’re going through. I think you can though, but it’s not exactly what you think.
“Being Still” doesn’t mean what you think it does
We typically think of being still as resting or relaxing in God’s presence. It’s true – God does call us into his rest, but be still in Psalm 46 is actually referring to something else. It’s a wake-up call to stop and recognize God’s sovereignty in our battle, to stop striving, and to let him fight for us. Finally, it’s an invitation to stop trying to fix our problems ourselves, and trust God to do what only he can do.
I’m not sure about you but when faced with a problem, my first inclination is to figure out a solution. Sometimes I imagine God looking at me, and saying, “This battle is not yours, it’s mine. Stop, don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know that I can end this battle in a minute?” That’s precisely what he’s saying in Psalm 46.
Here’s what Psalm 46:8-10 says:
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
I get chills every time I read it. It says, he breaks the bows, shatters the spear, and burns the shields. God literally takes the weapons formed in front of us and breaks them into pieces so that the war must end. Our stillness in hard times is a response to God’s promise that the hardship will end at some point.
Psalm 46:2-3 says:
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
Though the mountains be moved into the
Heart of the sea
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains tremble at its
When everything looks like it’s falling apart, you do not have to fear. Why? Because God is greater than any struggle or challenge you face. Be still and recognize his sovereignty; stop and acknowledge his greatness.
Some practical ways to be still in a season of chaos:
- Be sure that you have a strong foundation in Christ
- Turn to God’s word for guidance and rest in his truth
- Pray constantly and leave your worries at his feet
- Allow spiritual leaders and mature Christian friends to speak into your life
Remember, the chaos won’t last forever. God is with you and he’s working things out on your behalf.