Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…
— PSALM 37:7
In North America, being still is something that evades us. Our 24/7, goal-oriented pace devalues stillness. We pride ourselves on being “busy.” The scary thing is, based on Scriptural admonitions and practices of our forefathers, busyness is far from being a sign of well-being.
While it is hard to be still at the best of times, it is harder to be still when we are in rough times. Psalm 37 addresses the seasons in which we find ourselves facing injustice, when we feel people are getting away with things, well-meaning or not. A mixture of indignation and anxiety rises up, and we want to fix it within ourselves. It is at this time that God says, “Be still and wait for me to act.” King David wrote Psalm 37 most likely in the later years of his life when he was familiar with injustice and having to navigate emotions of anger, betrayal and confusion.
Too often in the Christian life, negative emotion is written off as a no-no and something to be rid of; however, this is not what the Bible teaches. God made us emotional beings, so we cannot just stop our feelings. The words given here are quite interesting. “Be still” in Hebrew is translated as “rest”; however, “wait patiently” is translated as “severe pain, anguish, writhing, suffering torture.” In essence, this admonition is really saying, “Trust God to act on your behalf while you wrestle through your emotions and anxieties.” God knows our frame and how we’re wired. Maturity as a believer is not pushing down your uncomfortable emotions or letting them rule you; it is owning them and, one by one, placing them in God’s hands. Sit back and rest in him; it will bring glory to his name.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: PSALM 37
1. If you’re in this place today, take a few moments to quiet your heart. Ask the Spirit to help you identify your feelings. One by one, place them at his feet as an act of your will to wait for him.
2. How will I praise and serve God during this waiting period?
Kathy Klassen was raised in Ethiopia as a daughter of missionaries. She now serves at First Alliance Church in Scarborough, ON and ministers to people in the Spirit’s power to encourage an abundant life in Jesus.