Rest. Silence. Still. I have trouble with these words. Well, lets say I have trouble with these words in their verb tense. Take the word still, as a verb it is defined as to become motionless or silent, or my favorite, to arrest the motion of. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am never still. I seem to always be in constant motion, some part of my body is moving all the time. I can remember being told as a child to sit still, in school, at home, at church, everywhere! I just can't be still for any length of time, it is a struggle for me.
Next we have silence. As a verb, silence is defined as to compel or reduce to silence. Now we know what silence is, it is the absence of sound or noise. Ok, again here, anyone who knows me can attest to my infrequent silence. My mom has even told me that I started talking at eight months "and never shut up"! My wife and children are always joking that I can turn a quick trip to the supermarket into a multi-hour excursion complete with many conversations. My son said to me just recently, "Do you really know everyone you meet or do you just like to talk?" I guess I am guilty as charged, I really struggle with silence.
And that brings us to rest. Rest, as a verb, is defined as to cease from action or motion, to be free from anxiety or disturbance. Wow, is that even possible? When I cease from action, I feel lazy. I feel like there is always something that needs to be done. I have been told more than once by my wife that I need to just rest. I truly struggle to rest, really rest, according to these definitions.
So what does this social distancing and shelter at home orders do to folks like me? What do you so when you are forced to rest, to be silent, and to just be still? How do you handle it when a global pandemic stops you in your tracks and makes you rest?
I am reminded of what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:10. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God." Be still: become motionless or silent... and know. Know what? That he is God, that he is who he says he is. He is the same God who took you through yesterday. He is the same God who is with you today. And he is the same God who has promised to be with you tomorrow. That's why we can be still.
But I love the entirety of Psalm 46. As you face the challenges that this COVID-19 virus has brought upon your life, you can observe the rest because of the truths of this chapter. It opens with these words: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Are you looking for a place of refuge? Do you need strength to make it through this day, and tomorrow, and the day after that? Are you afraid? You can rest because God is your refuge. You can rest because God is your strength. You can rest because God is for you, and there is no reason to fear.
When I was growing up there was a rule at my house and my Mema's house, if something was really important they would tell you twice. And if they called your name twice, well you know! In this chapter of Psalms, there are two identical verses, 7 and 11. These verses repeat, The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. If the rules of my childhood still ring true, you can be sure that these words are important. During this time of observing the rest remember that God, the Lord Almighty, is with you. He is your fortress. Therefore we make the choice not fear.