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Be still and know that I am God
Maybe it’s a thing of our generation, maybe it’s a product of living on the edge of Britain’s great powerhouse, London. But we love to be on the go all the time, and if we try to sit still for a few minutes we twitch, we get edgy, we need to be on to the Next Thing.
We love it when God calls us to action, to the next big project, into the front line of advancing the Kingdom. So when God tells us, in that ‘still small voice’ to ‘be still and know that I am God’, we possibly think, yes, that would be nice, but not just now: I’m just too busy!
I’ve learned this the hard way, or rather I am learning it the hard way. As I’ve got to the stage of struggling to complete a day’s work, and have had to lay down all sorts of activities which couldn’t possibly manage without me (not least taking a sabbatical as an elder for a year), I’m beginning to learn a few things.
Firstly, rest is not a sin. Many of us have been brought up with a Protestant work ethic that drives us to keep striving, always to be on the go. We know deep down that we’re not saved by works, but by the grace of God alone, but it doesn’t stop us feeling it’s a sin to stop work and take a rest. There’s all the difference between resting and being lazy: but if you’re one of those people who just can’t stop, try resting and let God prod you when he decides you’re taking it too far and being lazy!
Talking to someone recently, they had got to a point where God had closed the doors on activities they were involved in and not opened any new ones. ‘I want to be on to the next new thing!’, they said. How that resonated with me. I always want to be on to the next new thing. It comes out in so many ways; I can’t wait to get this job finished because there’s something new and exciting to do. While I chat to this person at church, my eyes are darting around looking for the next person I’d like to talk to. My car was perfectly adequate until the new model came out, and I want that one now… So it goes on, infecting all areas of our lives so we can no longer enjoy what we’re doing or what we have because we want to get on to the next new thing.
The other lesson I’ve had to learn is that the world keeps revolving on its axis when I stop. It hasn’t imploded, I haven’t starved, people around me carry on with their lives; God can actually manage fine without me whirling around like the proverbial Dervish ensuring all his plates keep spinning! Thinking he can’t is to deny his majesty and is the most heinous sin of all, pride.
God is clearly saying to many of us at the moment, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. So give it a try. God doesn’t want us just to give up, become couch potatoes and do nothing apart from watch telly. But he is preparing us for that next phase. He’s not letting on yet what it is, so we can’t be desperate to get on with it. It’s a time for regrouping, getting to know God afresh, and simply to slow down from the madness of our lives so when the time comes to get on to the next thing, we’re ready and prepared for it.