Be Still and Rest in God

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be Still My Soul: by Catharina von Schlegel

With so many things in this world vying for our attention and focus, how is it possible to find rest in God?  How is it possible to be still when the world seems to be racing all around us?

The author of Proverbs explains it this way:  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

To trust in the Lord with all your heart and to lean on Him means first abandoning all hope of trusting in other sources.  It means looking to God alone as the source of all rest and strength.  I once heard it described as leaning against a wall or podium… if we can still stand if that wall or podium is taken away, then we really aren’t leaning against it.

God wants our dependence on Him to be such that we cry in full dependence, “God, if you are not there to catch me, then I will surely fall flat on my face.”  I find that often in my life, I try to avoid this feeling.  I hate feeling dependent on something other than myself.  But God in His kindness always shows me the futility of depending on my own strength and graciously offers His provision and strength instead.

Resting in God is not a passive activity, rather something that we must continually work towards.  Our human nature does not naturally bend toward resting in God, but we have the promise that as we grow in this discipline, He will guide our paths. And when I see God’s faithfulness displayed as I learn to trust in Him, my soul begins to rest.

My soul can be still in the midst of chaos, storms and confusion because I know the Lord is on my side.  I know that through every change He remains faithful.  I know that as He has faithfully lead in the past, He will continue to guide my future.

For God alone, my soul waits in silence.  From Him comes my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress.  I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

[copyright, 2009, Emily Schankweiler; A Sacrifice of Praise]