Everything inside me screamed no.
I had written down all of the ways I needed God to act. All of the fronts on which I needed Him to move mountains. I’d prayed over each and every one, and surrendered them to Him by name – lifting them up like sacrifices on the altar.
Yet I found myself, three days later, sitting there—feeling like somehow my sacrifice had crawled back off of the altar.
Instead of seeing breakthrough, it seemed things had fallen into a greater state of uncertainty.
I needed God to act in big ways, and in an extremely short period of time. I needed some sort of clarity. I didn’t need to know the whole plan, but I needed to know the next right step.
I had pressing deadlines. Other people expected answers from me. I needed to know soon.
I felt anxious and desperate. I felt like I had to do something.
And then I realized, maybe my sacrifice hadn’t crawled off of the altar. Maybe I had taken it off when I thought God wasn’t looking.
I had told my friends and family I was trusting entirely in God. That I was trusting in His goodness and His timing.
I was praying for God’s best, and knowing that if He brought it, it would be wonderful. A testimony. A life story.
Note the “if.” While I was praying for breakthrough, I was busy on my end—trying to put together a contingency plan in case God let me down.
Now, this fear was unfounded. God had never let me down before. He had always come through at the right time, in a way that turned out to be miraculous, and for the best of all those involved.
But somehow, I still recognized a seed of distrust. I needed to make my own plans just in case. God was working all things together for everybody. Maybe I served a God of 4-6 business days. Maybe He wouldn’t make it by the time I needed Him.
I’d prayed three days before for Him to act with immediacy. And I sat there, three days later, feeling like everything had immediately fallen apart.
Enter the command to “Be still.”
If everything is falling apart, it’s our knee-jerk reaction to put it back together. To not be still. To be proactive. People praise us for being proactive.
So, everything in me was holding firm against “being still.”
Being still? Resting in the Lord. I didn’t want to rest. Then I would have to remember how everything had fallen apart. I’d take my eyes on the future and have to dwell on the present. That felt hopeless.
But we serve a God of hope, not hopelessness.
And I didn’t understand what “be still” really meant.
“Be still” comes from the Hebrew word “rapha”, meaning “to let go” or “to release”. It is a battle command, not a passive statement.
The exact phrase “be still” is used at two pivotal moments in the Old Testament:
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
Moses says this to the Israelites, who found themselves standing—“terrified”—between the approaching Egyptian army and the Red Sea.
Actually, Moses says all of this:
“DO NOT BE AFRAID. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
And immediately after Moses issued this statement, the Lord commanded the Israelites to “move on” and parted the Red Sea.
Do not be afraid. Stand firm. Be still. And see God act today. At the time that is most needed, and in a way that will make an impact.
Trust Him with what’s attacking you, and the “enemies” (impossible challenges, desperate needs) you face today will be solved or eradicated.
Psalm 46:10 – “He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.’”
Psalm 46 is written when David is on the run. It starts by detailing how God is our “refuge and strength, our ever-present help in times of trouble”. (There goes my God of 4-6 business days.)
Like Exodus 14, David then makes the statement, “We will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
Though the things around us are falling apart, though we are on shaking ground, we will not fear BECAUSE “the Lord Almighty is with us.”
In verse 5, we see “God is within her, she will not fall.”
God is within me. I will not fall.
“Being still” has nothing to do with God’s ability to work and everything to do with reminding ourselves who He is. What He has done. What He will do.
Be still. Let go.
“Be still and know that I’m with you,
Be still and know that I am here.
Be still and know that I’m with you.
Be still, be still, and know.
When darkness comes upon you,
And covers you with fear and shame
Be still and know that I’m with you
And I will say your name.
If terror falls upon your bed,
And sleep no longer comes,
Remember all the words I said.
Be still, be still, and know.
When you go through the valley,
And shadows come down from the hill.
If morning never comes to be,
Be still. Be still. Be still.
If you forget the way to go,
And lose where you came from.
If no one is standing beside you,
Be still, and know I am.
Be still and know I Am.”
~Be Still, The Fray