Rest Amidst Stress

I took another drink of coffee and braced myself. After a week off on vacation, I knew the day would bring a flurry of emails, reports, errands, and chores. Have you ever noticed how much harder Monday feels after being away?

In my mind, I started making my lists. But then my eyes settled onto these familiar words: "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Ps. 46:10).

I've read those words—even memorized them—countless times before. But now I needed to know what they meant.

Was God really calling me to sit while life swirled? I started picking the words apart:

Be still – The Hebrew word gives us a clearer understanding of what God calls us to do. The word conveys the idea of letting something drop, relaxing, abandoning one’s pursuit or plans, or being quiet.

This isn’t an invitation to prop up our feet while life unravels around us. Though sometimes stillness feels like carelessness. Instead, God calls us to stop trying to control everything. Let a few things fall off the to-do list. Leave a few emails unfinished. Release the compulsion to have everything completed and perfect. Stop scheduling every second of your day. And let go of that 5-year plan that keeps you so driven and tied into knots.

Know – So if God doesn't call us to a life of careless abandon, then what? This isn’t free-wheeling theology. Instead he wants us to know that he alone is God.

Only when we rest do we realize that he is God and we are not. Rest places us in a position of utter dependence. And from this vulnerable place, we see our humanity in all its neediness. Each day sleeping, eating, and even breathing remind us of our desperate need for him.

So let the wonder of God sink in. He doesn't desire our distant admiration as we go about our own agenda. He wants us to know him with the same level of intimacy that a married couple experiences. It takes time to know that God is trustworthy. It takes struggles to see that he is really good. And as we walk through turmoil and witness his faithfulness, we don't just learn more about him. We know him.

Exalted – Have you ever noticed that when we get quiet, we grow more aware of how God moves? He shows up in our desperation, making himself unmistakable both to us and to those around us.

Two years ago, I totaled my Honda Civic in a minor accident. Everyone stepped away from the scene unscathed. But as my husband and I assessed our finances, it became clear that we couldn't afford to purchase another car. I waited, worried, and prayed.

Two weeks later, someone close to us handed us an envelope. When we opened it, two checks fell out. Together they totaled the same amount that my husband had given to our church years before I even knew him.

Every time I slip into the car, I'm reminded that God is greater than I consider him to be. And when someone asks me about my car, I get to tell them that God—apart from my own doing—gave. He showed us grace to glorify his name.

It’s Thursday, which means we likely woke feeling wearied and worn out from a long week. So amidst the torrent of tasks and to dos, let’s rest today. Not in a checked-out, let’s-take-a-vacation sort of way. But with hopeful confidence that God can handle whatever situation comes our way.

Let's still our souls before him, letting him arrange today's agenda. Let's hold onto him until he turns the things that stress and strain us into something good. Let's celebrate the grace that reveals his glory, even in the simple things.

How will you be still?

Amanda DeWitt is a freelance writer, coach's wife, and mom. She completed her bachelor’s at Dallas Baptist University and holds a M.A. in media and communication from Dallas Theological Seminary. When she's not typing away at her computer, she's chasing her two little boys or watching her husband coach high school football.

One Comment

  • Apiche Nyamiwa

    Rest amidst stress

    This article is very powerful and has been very encouraging as this is the situation my husband and I find ourselves right now.  It has made my day and would like to read more like this.