My mother was stone deaf for 65 of 80 years. A lifetime marriage brought seven children to the family. She never heard them speak or shout or cry. She lived alone with her deafness. She became a master lip reader. She read our lips at times when we didn’t want her too. The loss of her hearing only sharpened other forms of communications. Her “sense of smell” was tremendous and any vibration on the floor would awaken her.
When I sing the song, “Be Still And Know That I Am God” I think of her. These words are based on Psalms 46:10. Her world of silence was always quiet. Wonderful things can happen in times of solitude, stillness and silence before God.
But “stillness” is our problem. It is hard to come by. I’ll bet you’d like nothing better than to find a quiet time today. Each of us have the same amount of time, but “stillness” just doesn’t seem to be available to the most of us in our hurried life. We spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t have to keep up with people we don’t even like.
There is precious little time for “stillness” when production deadlines are close. A major report is due in three hours. Voices and horns and TV blaring. The dog barks the cat pan needs renewal, and a hungry family will expect supper soon. There is constant motion, always the unexpected happens right when the “stillness and quiet time was to be.
There is a noise of a different quality altogether. We are older now and cannot do what we once did. Shared living space with someone else’s music, someone else’s TV and telephone. Where do you find God in all this confusion and noise?
Pain from illness and injury screams at you. The unforgiven hurt that seems to depress you, job hunting and the pressure of putting life back together after someone says a final “Goodbye”. Death always seems to take away your ability to “Be Still And Know That I Am God.”
Strange as it may seem, the greater need for us may be less for “stillness” than to learn how to hear God’s voice smack in the middle of the noise, the confusion of the hour, and the chaotic activity, and disorienting trouble. Just open your mind and listen to the wonder of the words, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, he restores my soul . . . Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. . . my cup overflows; surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalms 23).
Do you really think that ours is the first generation to feel the pressure of noise, tension and uncertainty? The following quotation is take from a writing found in Old Saint Paul’s church, Baltimore Maryland, in the year of our Lord, 1692.
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons,. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story.”
“Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are the vexation of the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. . . . Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love . . . take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. . . Many fears are born o fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome disciple, be gentle with yourself”.
The apostle James writes, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally and does not discourage them. It shall be given him . . . It all begins with the simple song, “Be Still And Know that I Am God”. But when will God take your burdens and give you wisdom? When will he relieve your suffering and pain? When will your frustration be over and finished? All of these questions will be answered the very moment you cease the self-struggling and surrender your burdens and griefs to the Lord. Simon Peter wrote, “Casting all of your care (worry, anxiety, frustrations) on the Lord, for he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).
We mumble and fumble,
We fume and we spurt.
We mutter, we sputter
Our feelings get hurt.
We can’t understand it,
Our vision grow dim,
When all that we need
Is a moment with Him.