Our theme for the year ahead is Be Still. What does Be Still mean to you?
In Exodus, Moses writes ‘The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.’ Good to know!
Psalm 46:10a reads, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Interestingly, this is not a suggestion, but a command. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, this command is more compelling than ever before.
But being still is easier said than done, right? After all, must I repeat we’re in a pandemic? We need to keep up with the latest rules – when to wear a mask, how to physically distance, reminder to check-in, whether to get a PCR test or a RAT, how many days to self-isolate, how to get a border pass, when children can actually return to school, whether or not parents can enter classrooms. It seems that with every new variant, the goal posts change. People we know are falling ill, some of us are identified as close contacts and, sadly, some of us have family or friends who have died with COVID-19. The pace and noise of the pandemic is great, and our hearts are restless. How can we possibly be still?
My understanding of the term Be Still is that we are instructed to loosen our grip on our circumstances and surrender our perceived need to be in control of outcomes. For me, Be Still means to stop: stop needing to be first, stop needing to be right, stop living up to others’ expectations, stop feeling guilty, stop clinging to unnecessary concepts we’ve been conditioned to believe are ‘normal’, stop striving, stop fighting, stop fearing and stop over-stretching. Be Still, for me, means letting go and trusting God.
When our hearts, minds and souls are stilled, we see God at work. God has blessed us with authorities who have dropped everything and used every resource within their capacity to assess the pandemic and put in place measures designed to minimise transmission and keep us safe. We may not always agree with these measures but the reality is that they have prevented thousands of deaths; perhaps even the deaths of those we care about most. When we stop trying to control the situation and trust that those in authority are doing the best they can with the information they have (which is much greater than the information we have) in order to protect our loved ones and our nation, we find rest, peace and stillness.
Peace that is beyond all human understanding is readily available to us when we still our hearts, minds and souls in Christ Jesus. After all, our God is the author of peace, not of confusion and chaos. He stills the storms on the lakes and oceans. And he stills the storms in our hearts, minds and souls when we surrender to him. And when we are still in his presence, he meets us in this stillness and transforms us by the renewing of our minds.
Silas Balraj is the Vice President of the Asian region of Compassion; an organisation committed to empowering children left vulnerable by poverty. He writes:
I wonder today whether you and I are fighting this pandemic? Are we fighting this pandemic with fear, with our knowledge, with what the media tells us, with what our neighbours tell us, with what our church groups tell us and our colleagues at work tell us? Or have we surrendered to God?
I’m the first one to say that surrendering goes against my basic instinct. Many of us are fixers. If something happens to us that is not in our minds, our thinking and our intellect, we want to fix it. I don’t know about you, but I love to control things.
But if we look to Psalm 46:10, and let God speak to us, should we be concluding that God is saying, ‘step back, open your eyes and acknowledge who I am and let me be God’. Don't try to do my job for me. Be patient, be still and let me do my work.
And so I ask again, what does Be Still mean to you? What could Be Still mean to you?
- Jane Mueller, Principal