We have reached day 14 of lockdown living in South Africa.
The city has come to a grinding holt. The streets are empty. The shops are deserted. Parking lots are vacant. Coffee shops are closed. The beaches are barren and the birds are finally coming out to play.
The sound of screeching cars and traffic and coffee machine whistles are nowhere to be found.
However, the online scene is buzzing – church online, business online, shopping online. My fingers tips are scrolling faster than ever before.
My head is spinning. There is so much noise.
Why is it that we struggle so much with the slower paces of life? We have opportunity to stop and sit still for a while, watch sunrises and sunsets and listen to the whispers of God. Yet we shuffle about our days in desperation for more.
What would happen if you got still before the Lord? What if you really could be still and know that He is God?
In Psalm 23, David echos the above scripture. He tells us that the Lord leads us beside still waters. God leads us besides still waters because that’s what we need in order to refresh our souls.
Did you know that sheep cannot drink unless the waters are calm. Sheep won’t drink out of water that is turbulent. They need still waters so that they can drink.
We need still moments of silence and solace. There is beauty in the sacred solitude that we find in still moments that we spend with our King Jesus. Let’s press into the presence of God during this time of lockdown.
Let’s look at a few scriptures and word parallels.
Let’s dive in scripture and see where else God commands us to “Be still”.
Mark 4:35-41 – That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Jesus says to His disciples – “Let us go to the other side”. We see the end destination here. The end destination is the other side. It’s a promise to the disciples that they will make it to the other side and that they will not drown in the depths of the sea. What promises are you holding onto today to get you through to the other side?
Suddenly a storm arose. Mark describes it as a “furious squall” – so bad that the waters swamped over the boat. The ESV says that the disciples thought that they were perishing. Yet, we see in the verse above that Jesus had already said: “Let us go to the other side”. Often, in life we do the same thing. In moments of panic, we don’t rely on the promises of Christ.
Jesus was sleeping in the boat. We know the saying, ‘sound asleep’ well. Jesus was sound asleep because he had no fear. Jesus had many reasons to fear. He was fully human and fully God. We see a glimpse of Jesus’ humanity in His need for rest but we also see the glaringly obvious power of God as Jesus rests in a rocking boat. We too, can rest when the boats of life rock and rumble because He is with us; just like He was with the disciples.
The disciples woke Jesus up. There’s a saying that goes, ‘I slept like a baby’ when instead it should actually read, ‘I slept like a husband’. My husband sleeps like a rock and within seconds of his head hitting the pillow, he is lights out. He doesn’t hear the car noises outside, or our cat that meows so loudly in the middle of the night, he doesn’t even hear our daughter creeping into the room at 12:00 at night to sleep next to us on the floor. BUT the minute one of his girls cry, he is awake within seconds attending to their needs. I think of this moment, when the disciples woke up Jesus, as one of those. The waters did’t wake Him, the rocking movements of the boat didn’t wake him, the wind didn’t wake Him – it was the disciples cry that woke Jesus up. He hears our prayers, He hears our petitions, He hears our pleas.
Then He got up and rebuked the wind and waves – “Quiet! Be still!” – and everything was completely calm. Then, he looked at his disciples and challenged them, “Why are you so afraid?” Jesus calms the crazy storm and then called into question the disciples response. The wind and waves obey the Lord, yet His children doubt that He can save us. If you were on that boat, what would your response be?
Who is the man that silences even the wind and waves? He is the only true King. He is Jesus! He is the One who carries all authority in Heaven and on earth. He is the One who died on the cross for your sin, and took it upon his own body – broken and beaten, so that we can have relationship with this mighty God. He is the only way into eternity. He is the One that David talks about in Psalm 46:10 – ‘Be still and know that He is God’ – even amid your fears, and anxieties, worries, concerns, relational storms, financial storms and health issues. Find your moment of sacred solitude with this King, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is near to all who call on Him!