'Be still and know that I am God'

December 29, 2008

by Pastor Robert Ramphal, Oster First Covenant Church, Waverly

The title of this column can be found in Psalm 46, verse 10. The psalmist is telling us a very important point in order for us to get to know God.

Voice is a form of communication. What is it called when no voice is heard?

From God’s perspective, it is called “silence.” Silence is hard to interpret, because it can mean many things and may have a range of emotions and attitudes. Being still can also be interpreted as being silent, and silence from God can be a good thing for us.

Many people feel that God should be more active in our world where injustice and violence occur. However, God is always active. Anger and turning away by God is a good thing for us, because we would not like God to strike us down. God’s silence has patience and this is hard for us to understand.

In His silence, God is experiencing pain from all the bad things we do to each other. Our disobedience to his instructions in the Bible and in His personal revelations to us makes Him extremely sad. We could interpret his silence as pain, and for us to understand and feel this pain, we need to be still.

During all the hustle and bustle this Christmas season, we all need to stop and take inventory of all our activities. There are many people that are homeless and are in dire need, and we need to take notice of these painful experiences of all of God’s children, and make provisions for them. To ignore them is to cause pain.

Silence is wisdom. God knows our needs, and He also knows when to meet those needs. He gives us things in due time and never before its time. Thinking things over, pondering, weighing the matter at hand, or making the best choices are signs of wisdom of man, but God’s wisdom trumps man’s. He knows best. We need to listen to that still voice.

Silence is listening. We may not see activity or acknowledgement of our requests or prayers, but this does not mean God is not listening. Our God is not deaf. He always hears us, but we do not always hear Him, especially when He is silent.

He is never absent. He cares for us deeply and we need to listen without words or rebuttals in our minds. Waiting on Him is all that He may require. Be still and learn to know that He is God.

Lastly, silence is waiting for the fullness to come. God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, we get things one at a time, because we may not be fully prepared to receive the whole gift. It is like a jig-saw puzzle where all the pieces have to be put together one at a time in order to get the full picture.

Sometimes, God is preparing us for the full task at hand by disciplining us with simple responsibilities. When we are able to handle the little things, then God may give us greater things to do.

To hear God’s voice without words, be still. Meditate on Him, pray for acute spiritual hearing, watch for signs, see the body language of friends and family, and when you read the parables that Jesus gave, pause for the message He intended. At the end of every story He told, there was silence, and that silence spoke louder than words.

During this holy season, there will be loud music and merry-making, delicious and delectable foods, parties and plays to attend, gifts to be given, and all kinds of cheerful salutations, but amidst it all, pay close attention to the silence, the presence of God in Christ, and His desire to draw all men to Him.

That is why Jesus came into the world during this time of silent night, holy night. Everything around this birth of Jesus was silent and yet loud to the people who knew and served God.

Thus, be still and know that He is God.