February 27, 2013

Be Still or Cease Striving


I don't usually read in the New American Standard Version, but I found myself in my husband's Bible this morning reading a familiar Psalm.

The wording in verse 10 really popped out at me. In the NIV, it reads in "Be still and know that I am God." But the NASB has it translated "Cease striving."

I love that. And in essence, that's what Be Still means. Stop. Wait. Don't make your own plans. Don't try to make something happen. Be led by the Spirit.

I am not in control. God is.

You'd think I would have figured this one out by now? But God keeps gently reminding me that I really am not in control.

Does this mean I do nothing? Just lie in bed and let the breakfast make itself, don't bother training the children, because I'm not in control. Don't bother initiating relationships... just sit back and do nothing? Not at all. The context of this verse is about the unstable environment of nature and the nations. It's no secret that there are things we could be panicking about - in politics, in natural disasters, in illness... this Psalm is really a reminder to the people of God's sovereignty over all! The Psalmist affirms God's stability over nature, and His ultimate control and design of the nations. He holds the world in His hands.

So when life is throwing us curve balls (as it tends to do), we don't need to panic. When I read those words, "cease striving," I picture the ancient people building that huge tower which became known as the tower of Babel. Brick upon brick, they worked and worked, with blood, sweat, and tears no doubt. And what was the end result of all of their "striving" to become the most famous and powerful city? Ruin. They were scattered. Disaster. Cease striving means to stop building your tower of bricks. Stop the blood, sweat, and tears.

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