A few weeks ago, I was reading and praying through Psalm 46.10. It’s one of those verses we know if we’ve spent time in the Bible. And if we don’t know the whole verse, the first line is familiar.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
As I sat with this verse, I looked up the phrase “be still” to see what it meant in Hebrew (the original language). Some of the definitions were:
- be quiet; be silent
- not take action
- make no moves
Then I came across this statement in a book by Ruth Haley Barton called “Invitation to Solitude and Silence.” She wrote:
“…there is a kind of knowing that comes in silence and not in words–but first we must be silent. The Hebrew word translated ‘be still’ literally means “‘let go of your grip.'”
“Let go of your grip.” But how can we do this? I think it starts with these things:
- we need to have a trust in God that moves us to let go of that which we are too afraid to release.
- we need to have a proper view of who God is so that we can trust him enough to let go of what we are so scared to release.
- we need to admit that we are prone to hold on to things instead of releasing them to Jesus.
- we need to confess to Jesus when we have a hard time trusting him, which causes us not to be able to “be quiet” while we “let go of our grip.”
- we need to have the faith to let go and trust that we will be ok.
If we finish looking at Psalm 46.10 along with verse 11, we see what we are supposed to focus on in all this.
“‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Our focus is supposed to be on God. Our ability to “let go of our grip” is based on a proper understanding of who God is and what God is like. It’s not supposed to be on ourselves or how far God has brought us in the process of sanctification so that we can show God that “we’ve got it.” Instead, the focus is on God. He tells us to let go of our grip because we know he is God. As a result, he will be magnified and exalted above every nation and on all the earth. There is no one, and nothing, that compares with God. And “the LORD of hosts is with us.” And there it is. God is with us.
When we face the things that scare us, the things that cause us to hold on to a false sense of security (whatever that looks like) tighter and tighter, like 4-year-old clings to his security blanket because we are trying to control it or feels safe, we need to remember that God is with us. And because God is with us, we can be quiet; we can be silent and let go of our grip and trust that God will hold us up.