Christian Living

Be still. Now.

If I could describe my life during college, racing from class to class, pulling all-nighters, working, performing, meeting up with friends, making it to worship and Bible classes, the picture below would be an excellent illustration—racing around like a roadrunner and loving every single minute:

Wiley Coyote and Roadrunner. Copyright Warner Bros.

The picture below more accurately illustrates what I have felt like (more times than I care to admit) since college—still running faster than the speed of the earth’s rotation and slightly rabid at times with a little humorous nuttiness:

Hammy the Squirrel Copyright DreamWorks Animation.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m racing to outrun a deadline or some other pressing danger. If I’m not running that way, I’m hopped up on adrenaline, getting slightly crazy to outrun the latest deadline or impending trouble. My hair might stick up strangely in a few spots…

My reaction when faced with trouble is either to be overwhelmed by it or spring into immediate action and reaction. This past week has been so crammed with surprises and major life changes that it honestly feels like a month has passed, rather than seven days.

Yesterday, while addressing the demands of the day and contemplating next steps for our immediate future, I got an email from my mother. She has been studying Nehemiah. I love the book of Nehemiah. There are abundant lessons to be learn and, Lord willing, I’ll be writing about them in the future.

She sent me a section of commentary that could not have come at a better time:

Nehemiah 2:1-3

1. He had the faith to wait. (Nehemiah 2:1-3)

Since the Jewish month of Nisan would be our mid-March to mid-April, it would indicate that four months have passed since Nehemiah received the bad news about the plight of Jerusalem. As every believer should, Nehemiah patiently waited on the Lord for directions; because it is “through faith and patience” that we inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12). “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16). True faith in God brings a calmness to the heart that keeps us from rushing about and trying to do in our own strength what only God can do. We must know not only how to weep and pray, but also how to wait and pray.

Three statements in Scripture have a calming effect on me whenever I get nervous and want to rush ahead of the Lord: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13); “Sit still … until you know how the matter will turn out” (Ruth 3:18, NKJV); “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). When you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time; you are investing it. God is preparing both you and your circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished. However, when the right time arrives for us to act by faith, we dare not delay.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament © 2001-2004 by Warren W. Wiersbe. All rights reserved.)

I read it, smiled and went on with my day, not anticipating the torpedo that was about to land in our lives, creating additional shockwaves.

When my spouse called to tell me the latest surprise that work had delivered us, my instinctive reaction was to panic. If you have seen the movie Over the Hedge by DreamWorks Animation, picture in your mind the scene where Hammy the squirrel looks up at the ominous hedge, thinks for a split second and then races left and right to see what this hedge thing is all about. He comes back and says, “It never ends!” and “It never ends that way too!”

Almost immediately after that surge of rising panic, the words I had read that morning flashed into my mind.

“Stand Still… and see the salvation of the Lord.”

“Sit still… until you know how the matter will turn out”

“Be still, and know that I AM GOD.

Instead of jumping up and rushing around in a frenzy, I sat still.


I prayed right then and there. I didn’t get up and go find a quiet place. I stopped right where I was and prayed silently. I suddenly understood fully what Amy Carmichael meant in this poem:

He said, “I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God to-morrow
Will to His son explain.”
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
Not vain the word, not vain;
For in acceptance lieth peace.

~Amy Carmichael
(for full text of the poem, click here.)


I sat still. I prayed.

The anxiety evaporated. Instantly.

The peace came. Instantly.

Timing is everything. That encouraging email from my mother could not have come at a more crucial moment in my life.

Are you rushing around trying to stay ahead of the game? Are you facing an overwhelming situation?

If you are there, then read, re-read and fix your mind on Psalm 46, where the oft used verse “Be still” comes from:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Listen to the Words of the Lord. He is like a father talking to a trembling child:

Be still.

Be calm.

I am in control.

And my friends, He really is.

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