The Psalmist writes, “The nations are in an uproar and kingdoms totter…. Waters rage and foam; mountains shake.”
These ancient words seem to ring loud and true in our contemporary ears.
We live in a world where nations not only rise against other nations, but also seem to be in an uproar within themselves. Kingdoms once deemed unshakable, now totter. Political systems thought to be the greatest and most just have become bastions of corruption and greed. Those in authority have been known to abuse those they are responsible for. The poor and powerless suffer at the hands of hatred, self-indulgence, and sin.
Images of raging waters flood the television screen. Devastation, tragedy, and death consume our news. The ferocity of Mother Nature and the fragility of humanity are on display for the entire world to see. At home and abroad roaring waters blindly wreak havoc on the young and the old, rich and poor, black and white.
Nations rage. Kingdoms shake. Waters roar. Mountains totter. (Psalm 46)
And so, the Psalmist cries out to the ancients and to us on behalf of God:
Be still and know that I am God.
The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength. That God is our very present help in times of trouble. That God makes wars to cease, breaks the bow, and shatters the spear. (Psalm 46)
As I write this article, people in this world seem anything but still. In fact, I feel everything but still. At this moment, sirens resound down Main Street. Horns blare from one rushed driver; an unfriendly gesture is shot back. I hear the cries of children. I see the broken posture of the man at the bus stop outside my window. The drum of a plane can be heard above our church. The back-up beeps of delivery trucks are my metronome. A couple argues in the parking lot of the law firm next door. The phone rings, and rings, and rings, and rings. The copier creates a cacophony of printing, stapling, folding, and beeping. The soundtrack of today is chaos and noise.
And I know the disorder of my surroundings is not unique to me – that right now life is anything but still. At this moment cancer is quietly hurting people, families are suffering from poverty and persecution, entire groups of people are suffering from prejudice, fear and greed are driving the decisions of many people placed in authority. Floodwaters continue to devastate. Right now, nations rage and kingdoms shake and waters roar and mountains totter.
Nothing seems still.
Through the cacophony I cannot help but hear these ancient words from Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble… Be still.
God is calling us not to fear, reminding us of His mighty power, promising us that He will put an end to desolation, violence and war, exhorting us to be still.
May the peace of Christ still your heart in the midst of raging and shaking nations.
May the love of God still your thoughts even as waters rage and foam.
May the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life right now give you the strength to be at peace.
Through the cacophony that surrounds you may you hear the Psalmists cry:
Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in all the earth. (Psalm 46:10).