The Treasure of Stillness
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
Living in Southern Maryland, we are incredibly blessed to be near the water, specifically the Chesapeake Bay. This beautiful estuary is one of the many reasons that I love my home. There are remarkable treasures within the cliffs and beaches that border the Bay. I am privileged to have found a few of these gems. Fossil hunting is pretty common around here, and I have come to enjoy it, like many other locals. It is a skill that I have developed over time with much practice and repetition, but regardless of how skilled I am at hunting for fossils, my success largely depends on the water.
At times, I have spent hours scouring the shore, waiting for the tide to go out to see what the waves have left behind on the sand. If the water is calm, I can wade out and look through the quiet ripples to find the treasures within. However, if the water is choppy, it is impossible to see anything below the surface. On a day when the water is still, I can walk along the beach where the tide meets the shore and slowly examine every inch of the surface to see if there are any teeth left for me to find. On days when the waves are crashing, I have to look quickly to see what is there. Oftentimes, even if I am lucky enough to see something, a wave will wash it away before I can grab it.
One of the reasons I enjoy looking for fossils so much is because of the time it gives me to think. The surrounding beach and the cliffs are a beautiful place to enjoy God’s creation, and I often find myself reflecting on His work in my life. One day in particular, I was struggling to find anything. It was windy and the waves were crashing on the shore faster than I could search the sand. I gave up the hunt and sat down on a piece of driftwood to gaze at the horizon. As I watched the water swell and churn, I thought about how much better my day would be if the water was still, quiet, and calm. Then my thoughts turned to a well-known verse in Psalms.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10, ESV)
The concept of stillness has always puzzled me. What does it mean to “be still” and what does that have to do with knowing God? My mom always says that when I was a girl, I never walked anywhere – I ran! I rarely sat still and much preferred playing games that involved running or jumping. I can’t say that I still run up and down the grocery store aisle or to the mailbox, but this mentality has followed me into my adult life and, as a result, I enjoy being busy and active. Through my love for Christ, He has given me a desire to do good works for His kingdom. But what happens when my good works and busyness detract from my ability to see GOD working in me?
As I reflected that day, sitting on the driftwood and watching the waves, I realized that the stillness God has called me to is actually a blessing from Him. Much like how I was unable to see through the choppy waves, it can be difficult to see God’s goodness through the busyness of life – even when that busyness is good! It wasn’t until the water was quiet and still that I was able to find what I was looking for. In the same way, quieting our soul enables us to turn away from the busyness of life so that we can fix our heart on the Lord to see what He has in store for us. Dear friends, I humbly admit that I am still learning how God is calling me to be still. But I do believe that in this stillness, He is waiting to bless us through a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Take some time this week to quiet yourself and spend a few moments in the presence of the Lord. Much like the treasures below the water’s surface, His treasures are waiting to be found by us. We need only to be still.