After a dreary cold morning, our walk in the woods was blessed with brilliant sunshine. As I sat on my favorite fallen log, I reveled in the sun warming my face. There were few walkers or runners out today because of the cold. The only sounds I heard were birds calling in the trees as they foraged for food, the creek babbling and a squirrel’s claws scratching the bark as he ran up a nearby tree. It was still. No lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trucks baking up, nothing but lovely peace and quiet. Even the raucous ducks on the creek were swimming silently.
I found myself wondering, how often do we give ourselves time to sit in silence and listen to what is around us? How often do we actually sit still in God’s presence? And of course, why not?
There are several words in the Bible used to convey the word still. One of the ones we are most familiar with is, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) What I did not realize was that the context for this is war, the setting is a battlefield. God is speaking directly to the nations who are enemies of God. What struck me is that the words are a command.
It is powerful to believe in a God who can defeat an enemy simply by the words He speaks. Ponder that reality and you will find yourself still. That kind of power and force is only available to the creator of the universe. The psalm also says, “He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” (v.6-7) God’s voice can not only stop a warring nation, but it can also melt the earth! That power will silence us in reverence and awe.
There is another passage of scripture with which most of us are familiar, “He leads me by still waters.” (Psalm 23:2) Some translations say quiet waters. So often when I am walking, I am searching out these places. It doesn’t have to be by water, but a place of quiet and peace in which to meditate on the beauty of His creation and listen for His voice.
Jesus, who was besieged by large crowds, said to His disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) He knew when to withdraw to rest and pray. Quieting our bodies and minds takes some practice. But just as we attune our ears to learn the bird calls in the woods, we can attune our ears to hear God in a peaceful and quiet setting. God often speaks to us in that soft voice that can only be heard when we are . . . still.
Whether you are walking beside still waters, listening to a brook’s harmony as it passes over rocks, or listening to sounds of the forest around you, take time to sit, quiet your thoughts and listen to the silence. And remember, you are sitting with the God of the universe. And He wants to be close to you.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”
Psalm 62:5-6 NLT