"Be still, and know that I am God.
This verse takes on a whole new meaning during a challenging time like we are presently experiencing. As the possibility of being 'sheltered in place' due to the Coronavirus grows more realistic, we are witnessing people respond in a variety of ways. But whether you find yourself in panic or are peaceful about social distancing, this is but one of the changes we will face in the coming weeks. Life as we know it has shifted without any of us being truly prepared for what will follow. This can serve to heighten our already acute anxiety. And we may wonder, how can we feel secure or even optimistic about the future?
As our emotions swirl in the face of an unknown future, we hear the voice of the Psalmist entreating us to, "Be still." The same words Jesus used to calm the storm. But how?
The Apostle Paul tells us to guard our hearts and minds through Christ, to control our thoughts so that we do not get swept up (and swept away) by fear and runaway minds. God has given us the ability to do this, even when it seems the rest of the world has succumbed to fear: "The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ." 2 Cor. 3-5- MSG
Later In that same letter, Paul will talk about keeping our thoughts captive to Christ. Does this mean that the trials we will be facing are not real, or that we should deflect, escape, or delude ourselves into thinking that none of this is going to affect us or our families? Of course not. It simply means that throughout this season of angst and turmoil, we keep our eyes, minds, and hearts, fixed on Christ. That even during the worst times of our lives, God is present with us. The "barriers of th e world erected against the truth of Christ" would tell us that we are now on our own- that we have been left floundering and that somehow God is not present with us, working, healing, and moving! Controlling our thoughts allows us to see that whatever happens, we are not alone, not abandoned, not overtaken; stilling our thoughts (minds) means recognizing God's live-giving spirit in our midst; creating and restoring.
Carve out some time each day to notice God, and give thanks in the stillness of your quiet and centered mind. "Be still, and know that I am God."