Be Still and Know: Reflections on Psalm 46

by Lynace Pabst Veit

For almost ten years now I have been active in Children’s Ministry. Either leading children’s choirs or as a Director of Children’s Ministry or sometimes BOTH! And over the years one of my favorite songs to sing with my children has become Be Still and Know, based on Psalm 46.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God.

I have used it as a children’s choir anthem during a “Meditation”-themed service and as a congregational response to a prayer during Sunday morning worship. But most often I use it during our weekly chapel service for our Day School and during Worship Center on Sunday mornings. It serves as a centering time before we hear the daily bible story. It gives the children, teachers, (and myself) a time to quiet our bodies and center our hearts and minds to hear God’s word.

Throughout the years I have adopted this phrase as my own mantra as a wife and mother. When times are tough, when things don’t go as expected, when I’m caught up in the whirlwind of life, or confused about where God has placed me. I have cried out “Be still and know that I am God.”

I recently read that rapa is the Hebrew word for still meaning “to slacken, let down, or cease.” It connotes two people fighting until they separate and drop their weapons. It is only after fighting has stopped that the warriors can recognize their trust in God. So often we think and use this Bible verse as a command to “be still,” to be quiet in the presence of God. That’s certainly the way I have used it in my ministry. (And I would argue that is an appropriate use.) But after reading this translation I thought back over the moments in my life that I have sung this song and realized that while I was singing it to “quiet” myself or “be still,” in reality I needed to “cease” my frantic activity, let down my guard, and trust in God.

Moments like…   be-still-pic

…Finding out my husband and I were expecting our first child – while living in separated states and both of us living miles apart from our families. ….Be still and know that I am God.

 …Labor. Three days of labor, a stubborn little boy who was too content with the warm home I had made for him, and me a tired, helpless, first time mom just ready to be “done.” …Be still and know that I am God.

 Carrying my squirmy two-year old to the changing table while he bats me in the face and shouts, “Go away Mommy!” …Be still and know that I am God.

…Watching injustices abound, bitter words shared between neighbors, walls built between God’s children, and feeling helpless in the midst of it all. ….Be still and know that I am God.

So as I continue to claim this refrain as my own. I now challenge myself not to simply “be still” but to let down my barriers, cease control, and trust in the God who made me. Trust in the God who is my refuge and strength, who lifts His voice when nations are in an uproar and kingdoms fall. Trust in the God who makes wars cease and is exalted in all the earth. Trust in the God who is with me always.

…Be still and know that I am God.

Lynace Pabst Veit is the Director of Children and Family Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a wife, mother, and second generation Christian Educator.


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