"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
The secret to knowing God is simple...be a slacker!
Marty McFly in Back to the Future couldn't catch a break, especially from Mr. Strickland, Hill Valley High's self-proclaimed Border Patrol. Mr. Strickland berated his students mercilessly, culminating his diatribe with "Slacker!" According to the psalmist, God on the other hand has a soft spot for slackers.
The word still in Hebrew is raphah (pronounced raw-faw). A primitive root, raphah means to slacken, literally and figuratively. Additional definitions are: fail, faint, be (wax) feeble, idle, be slothful, be weakened, consume. These aren't terms we readily ascribe to in our can do culture.
The psalmist notes that stillness isn't something we do, it's what we become and are. Some interpretations of what a victorious Christian walk looks like don't embrace the concept of stillness. Perhaps this is the reason we expend so much energy running ourselves ragged to the point of exhaustion. Once there, with all resources and strength depleted, and all avenues of escape blocked, we have some of our greatest encounters with God.
The psalmist places his seal of approval on the careless lifestyle. Instead of berating ourselves to do more, and at a higher degree of performance, why not slacken the reins a bit? In stillness, experience God (who lives inside of us) on a deeper, richer level. Rather than play it safe all the time, attempt the impossible knowing that failure will only open up new doors to intimacy with God? It's really alright to not perpetually being doing something for God. Being still is just fine with Him.
To know is the Hebrew word yada (made famous by Seinfield, "yada, yada, yada"). This is to perceive, distinguish, to know by experience. In addition it's to have sexual intercourse, and you can't get any more personal than that. Head knowledge comes by doing, intimacy by being. For those who enjoy a more hands-on, boots-on-the-ground, "git 'er done" approach, lack of activity makes them squirm. Why waste time doing nothing when there's so much that needs to be done?
Psalm 46:10 is God's recipe for getting back on track when our plans and programs implode. We all get tripped up by life's speed bumps. Paul was one who knew this well and shares advice his all-wise God gave him, "...my power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Cor. 12:9.
Spending time with God for the sole purpose of being with Him is never a waste. Doing so can keep us out of trouble, getting side-tracked on bunny trails and burning-out. Also, when we really know God, we're in a better position to introduce Him to others.
How about you? How does being a slacker conflict with your concept of a vibrant Christian life? How will being still in order to know that He is God benefit you? Note the important conjunction and. To know God requires stillness on our part. How would you define the difference between doing and being? Which appeals to you more? Are you willing to develop a knowing relationship with God on His terms?