Day 6 —
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Revised Standard Version)
A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on spiritual renewal during a Leadership Training event at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Throughout the workshop the psalmist’s words in 46:10 seemed to permeate the air: ”Be still and know that I am God.” Yet, there were some of us asking: How is it possible to “be still” in our hectic and frenzied world where life and ministries spin and spin and never seem to stop?
During one of the workshop discussion periods a pastor shared this account of how he discovered an oasis of stillness in his life and ministry. He always had problems creating a place of quietness in his heart. But one particular day he was determined to make every conceivable effort to “be still” and to “know God.”
Hence the next morning he arose an hour earlier than usual, went to his study, sat at his desk, and began to pray. A minute passed, then five, then twenty. It seemed like an hour. He did not know if he could stay any longer. Nothing was happening. He was about to become a failure again. He started to get up. But a voice within him asked that he remain a minute or two longer. God used that extra minute or two of obedience to speak to his heart.
From that time forward this pastor spent as much time as needed in prayer and meditation, listening to God. It was this centering act that transformed him from an ordinary, frantic individual into an extraordinary, serene, fruitful person. In observing him I then understood why an inner peace glowed like a beacon of light around him, radiating a new spirit of God’s love and joy. I understood why the congregation where he served embodied Christ’s mission in the world. There was a stillness and depth about him that was astounding, influencing his life and ministry. Is it possible that our lives and ministries can also be transformed by stillness in God’s presence?
I must admit that this is not always the case in my own life. Instead of allowing God to quiet my soul I can become caught up in the clutter and frantic pace of life and ministry. Yet, on those occasions when I am “still,” the Spirit of God breathes upon me a pure clear air of serenity and quietness. My soul is then transformed – renewed – by the living God; and from such a place of quiet and calm there miraculously flows fruitful and life-giving ministries in the name of Christ.
Loving God, we pray that the transforming, nourishing quietness of your presence will pervade all of our lives. May your voice saying, “Be still and know that I am God,” begin to touch us and move us all in new ways so that your mission and ministry can be lived out in transforming ways in the world. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The Rev. Bettye P. Lewis
Director of Connectional Ministries, Tennessee Conference