There’s a phrase from the Psalms that keeps coming back to me these days. In fact, just the other day, a friend asked me what I thought it meant. So, I thought it would be helpful to try to expound a little on God’s word to us: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Here’s the first question: why does God tell us to “be still”? I think that those words refer to our anxiety, which comes from not believing that God is God. That unbelief manifests itself in a number of ways, but I’ve been thinking especially of two particular ways that it has manifested itself in my life lately: first, not really believing in my heart that God is in charge. Second, not really believing in my heart that God is in control.
Trusting him looks like really believing in my heart that his plan is better than mine; I am not in charge. Usually, I think I know what’s best for my life. I think I know how things should be, how I should be treated, or what is “fair.” And sometimes – oftentimes – what I think does not match up with what God knows. Anxiety comes when the reality of what God is doing does not seem to match my understanding of what should be happening. Rather than being anxious, I need to be still, believing in my heart that what God is doing is better than what I have in mind.
Trusting him also looks like really believing in my heart that he is in control. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with wanting to feel like I am in control, instead of surrendering to his control. And every time I try to take control, rather than resting in his control, I get anxious.
Why? Because I’m really not in control. Even when I want to be, even when I think I am. I am not ultimately in control of my own life. God created me, and owns me. He is the sovereign orchestrator of all things. And the best thing? He loves me. That means that each detail of my life, which God sovereignly orchestrates, is ultimately for my good, because he loves me. I would make a shipwreck of my life if I was the one orchestrating it, and I wouldn’t be very happy. It is good and freeing to rest in the sovereign will of the One who not only loves me, but has control of literally everything that happens in my life.
God tells us to be still and know that he is God because that is the only way our hearts will be at peace. Resting in his character is the key to fighting the anxious lies of the world. We need to remember that God, in his fullness, is the only one who can meet our deepest heart needs. That’s because he is all we need. He is the answer to our fears. He is the only true and lasting hope of our souls.