Ever feel guilty when somebody cites this Bible verse, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)? I'll bet you'd just love to find a quiet time today, wouldn't you? Maybe you are even planning for it. Wonderful things can happen in times of solitude, stillness, and silence before God. But "stillness" is hard to come by — and simply isn't available on some days or in certain life experiences.
There's precious little time for stillness when production deadlines are close. A report is due in three hours. An inspection is in progress. If you live in a big city, there are voices and horns. There is constant motion. Shared living space has someone else's music, someone else's TV, and someone else's voice. Where are you supposed to find God in the midst of all the noise?
Then there is "noise" of a different quality altogether. Pain from illness or injury screams at you. The pressure of finding a new job or putting life together after a death takes away your tranquil sense of God's nearness. Sadness, disappointment, and loss crash over you with the roar of an angry sea.
Strange as it may seem, the greater need for some of us may be less for stillness than to learn how to hear God's voice smack in the middle of all the noise, chaotic activity, and disorienting trouble.
They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord... (Psalm 107:27-31).
Do you really think ours is the first generation of humankind to feel the pressure of noise, tension, and uncertainty? Of course not. And the experience of some of those people can guide us in our times of stress.
Whoever the subjects were of this Psalm (Psalm 107:1-43), they were reeling and staggering under their load. There was no serene stillness before God for them. To the contrary, they were "at their wits' end." So right in the middle of their frenzy and distress, "they cried out to the Lord in their trouble" — and God heard them.
If your life has more tumult than stillness, more crash than tranquility, please understand this: God has not eluded you. He beckons you to cry out to him, and he will show himself.
Amidst the noise, you will find his presence enfolding you in his peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).