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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Be still, get calm, really see, & finally understand

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God. I am honored among all the nations. I am honored over all the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 VOICE)
Stillness isn't always part of our days, is it?  In fact, most of us don't take time to recognize that the trees have grown absolutely still, without any evidence of even the slightest breeze ruffling their leaves. We don't even miss the sweet songs of the tiny birds until someone calls it to our attention. In the stillness of those moments there is usually something "brewing" - hence we get the term the "calm before the storm".  Ranchers, farmers, and those who work in the outdoors have learned to pay close attention to a change in the weather which comes with a very eerie stillness simply because they know it could be building into something they will be having to do significant clean up after if they aren't adequately prepared.  Maybe we'd do well to pay attention to the times God purposefully "stills" the things in our lives just before he is about to break in upon them in a pretty big way!
As a kid, when the big monsoon winds would begin to blow, we always knew we had a little time before the lightening would start, so we still had time to play, despite the sudden increase in the wind and dust.  We had a "build up" till the worst part of the storm would be upon us, so we didn't become alarmed by the increasing winds.  Usually one good crack of lightening and clap of thunder would send us scurrying into the nearest home and then off to our respective homes if the downpour was just a little delayed. In real life, we don't always get such good "warning signs" that the skies are about to open up and pour down on us, though. It is often the "calm before the storm" which we miss that was our "warning" something was about to happen.
Our writer records four things God wants us to know.  First, we are to get very, very still.  Stillness differs from calmness in that stillness is the absence of any motion - we don't continue any longer in whatever it was we were doing, but stop dead in our tracks.  Second, we are to get into a calm place.  Stopping is one thing, but remaining calm is really the evidence of slight movement, just not big steps.  Sometimes I think we get ourselves into a place of being "still" and then don't take any further steps in any direction because we don't know what to do.  Calm waters are those without a lot of turbulence or waves - but they aren't motionless.  Those are still waters and if they remain still too long, the waters grow a little stagnant.  In stillness, we cease from the major movements so we can refocus. In calmness, we begin to order our steps again in the direction which seems to carry us forward as we need to go.
This is where the importance of the last two reminders come into play - seeing and understanding.  As we stop the rush of movement in our lives, we begin to allow a calmness to settle which will make it easier to recognize the subtle changes about to happen. In essence, we are able to "see" the subtle changes and in so doing, God brings us into a place we begin to comprehend what he is doing.  God wants us to understand his movement in our lives - he isn't trying to put "one over on us" all the time!  He engages us in his plans and purposes for our lives when we get still and calm, allowing our spiritual vision to be focused on him and our minds to be open to his instruction.  We often don't get to this place until we have accomplished both the stilling of our busy-ness and the calming of our internal drive.  Just sayin!