I needed to urgently get in touch with a woman whose address I didn’t have, and every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety. I felt as though I would fly to pieces if I didn’t get some word to her. As I prayed about what to do next, suddenly a paraphrase of Scripture came to me. Just be still. Get quiet and know that I am God.
When I sat down, quieted my spirit, and asked God to do something to avert disaster, He spoke to my heart. Just write a note and take it to the apartment where she lived before. Maybe she will have some reason to go back there or someone who knows where she moved will find your note and tell her to contact you.
So I wrote the note and went over to the apartment to deliver it. Just as I arrived, note in hand, up drove the very person I had wanted to reach but couldn’t!
Isn’t it wonderful how God is able to work things out? I learned then that, as God’s Word says, “in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”1 In this mad rush that modern living has become, we have an even greater need for this divine stillness to bathe our souls in quietness. It is only when our minds and spirits are quiet and serene that we can come to know God. “Be still and know that I am God.”2
Many people have the mistaken idea that the stillness this verse speaks of is a sort of controlled tension, a practiced poise, and that they can compress anxiety in some way. They may be able to do that sometimes, but if they do, it’s only a surface calm; inwardly they are a boiling cauldron. That isn’t the kind of stillness we are talking about! The stillness of God isn’t mere passivity. It’s a genuine stillness of spirit that brings about the greatest clarity of thought, and it is in that stillness that we come to know God’s will and plan.
I know from experience that divine stillness often comes through trials and testings. How can that be? Trials and tests subdue the soul, and suffering humbles the spirit. Are you going through a difficult time right now? Then get quiet and be still before the Lord, and He will show you how to get sweetness out of that difficulty. He will teach you wonderful lessons from it, but you’ve got to get quiet. It is in that sweet, still devotion that He is able to speak to your heart.
What shall the believer do in times of darkness? The first thing to do is to do nothing, to stand still. That goes against human nature, but that’s the wise thing to do. There’s a saying, “When you’re rattled, don’t rush.” In other words, when you aren’t sure you know what to do next, don’t rush blindly into anything, hoping for the best.
There have been times when I have run into a spiritual fog and I have wanted to do something so badly in my own strength. I’ve felt that I had to unsnarl the tangled wires or find the solution to a problem. I had to do something. My human energy felt like it had to rush out and take care of the problem. But I have learned that while sometimes human energy may help a little, it is far better to anchor my boat and let it swing upon its moorings for a while and simply trust God!
Be still and see what God will do. Put your hand into the hand of God, and let Him lead you out into the bright sunshine of His love. Be still. Let Him do the work for you. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving”—by getting still before God—”let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”3
Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.—William E. Gladstone (1809–1898)
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.—Martha Washington (1731–1802)
1. Isaiah 30:15 KJV
2. Psalm 46:10
3. Philippians 4:6–7