• Diana Dodd

Be Still and Know

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

I struggled emotionally all last week. Every time I tried to work on my blog, the results were angry and intense rather than uplifting and hopeful. I would delete what I had and start over, and over and over. The problem was the world - rude people in the stores and on the roads, a distressingly disturbing news article, a difficult colleague at work - all of that came together to make me feel like this world has finally plunged into full darkness, and my little pinhole of light couldn’t possibly make any difference. I feared the world that my children are inheriting.

I was having trouble praying, too. I did my devotion every morning as usual, but, honestly, I was just checking the block. I prayed for help on my blog, asking for guidance and inspiration, but I felt like God had gone silent.

Sunday morning, I went out on my screened-in porch where I take my coffee and Bible in the mornings, and I looked out at the beautiful fall leaves and prayed a truly heartfelt prayer for the first time in a week. “Cast me not from Your presence, oh Lord, and renew a right spirit within me,” I pleaded. I knew that if God seemed distant, the problem was on my part, not His.

I asked His forgiveness for my half-hearted attempts at prayer, and I acknowledged that the horrible story I’d read in the news had made me feel fearful and hopeless and that the rudeness of others had left me feeling less than loving toward my fellow man. I admitted all my sins and worries and fears and asked Him, once again, to give me inspiration for this week’s blog.

A small voice in my mind replied, “Be still and know that I am God.”

After church when we stopped at the grocery store, I heard that voice in my mind as I started getting annoyed at people’s rudeness and once again began to feel that all the goodness had left the world. “Be still and know that I am God,” the voice would whisper.

I sat at my computer later that afternoon, desperate for something to write, hoping that our time of worship and study had removed my writer’s block, but again, all that came to mind was Psalm 46:10.

I left my desk and found my husband in the living room, watching football. I fretted to him about my blog, and he suggested that I just step away and watch a movie with him. We chose one of my favorites, Secondhand Lions. As we watched, I got caught up in the story, and my stress and anxiety melted away.

I’ve always loved movies and spent my first two years at college as a film major. (I thought I wanted to be a director.) Life intervened, and I transferred to journalism school, but I still love movies. This one is about a young boy named Walter being raised by a selfish single mom who decides to dump him off on his two great-uncles, whom he’s never met, while she goes galivanting off to Las Vegas.

One of the best scenes in the film is when Walter’s Uncle Hub, played by Robert Duvall, gives him his “What Every Boy Should Know to Become a Man” speech. Hub tell his nephew, “Honor, courage and integrity are the only things that really matter. Money and power are worth nothing. And true love never dies.”

During that scene Psalm 46:10 echoed in my mind once again, and finally the message made sense to me: The problems of the world aren’t ours to fix or carry! The truest love we can ever know is God’s, and we are to be the honor, courage, and integrity in the world. Regardless of how it may appear from our minute human perspective, God has it all under control.

My job is to trust Him and simply be obedient and faithful to the small role He’s given me in His great, cosmic plan. Of course, I can and should feel empathy and sorrow over the troubles and tragedies that occur in this life, but it’s wrong of me to allow that to darken my thoughts or my mood and steal my peace and joy.

Then, another Scripture came to mind that gave me chills, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). He was letting me know that I needn't be concerned that the evil of this world will go unpunished. He is everywhere. He sees it all, and He is taking notes. Evil's time will come, and God’s vengeance will be swift and just (see Revelation 19:11-21).

It’s to be expected that we, God’s children would see the sin, the pain, and the selfishness epidemic among mankind and be saddened and sickened by it. I would even go so far as to say that it’s normal for us to occasionally feel that God is far away and to wonder about our purpose and whether we’re really making any difference in the world. But we must not be overcome by those thoughts or feelings!

We have the cure for all the pain and suffering in the world, and we should tell others about the freedom found in Jesus. We can demonstrate the joy and peace to be had in salvation, but we can’t make the lost accept it. Only the Holy Spirit working in their hearts can do that.

I know that I will still have moments when I worry about the world that my children are inheriting and fret about whether their father and I have done a good enough job instilling in them the values and knowledge they’ll need to stand strong in their faith as the world continues to grow darker, but then, that job isn’t all mine either. They have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to protect and guide them, too.

As long as their dad and I live, we’ll be standing by to give them Godly guidance and help, but I also must have faith in God’s shelter and provision for them. They were entrusted to our care in this world, but they are really His. I know they’ll falter and make mistakes, just like all of us have, but just like the rest of their spiritual family, He holds them in the palm of His hand, and no one can take them from Him (John 10:28-29). And just like I remind myself that my children have the greatest Protector that could ever be imagined, I remind myself that I have Him, too.

So, yes, there will be times when we feel downtrodden, hopeless, and useless, but all we have to do to dispel those feelings is: Be still and know that He is God, and we are His.

Father God, we thank You for always being there. We acknowledge that sometimes we let the brokenness of this world get to us and make us forget who we are in You, but we ask that You forgive us those moments of human weakness. Please remind us at those times who You are and that we are Yours. Please strengthen us every day through Your Spirit and help us to continue to step out in faith and love in matter what is happening in the world. We know that You are in control. In Jesus Christ’s holy name. Amen.

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