God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
In college my favorite Bible verse was “meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The flavor of those words, stuck in the middle of the Bible, was just the sort of bitter taste I needed as I chewed through what seemed like endless exams and attempts to be good enough.
Today’s verses bring a richer taste to the same concept. We try, we scheme, but in the end, God rules; God who can dissolve the earth with a breath. We do not control.
A decade after college, I spent weeks in a hospital bed. I should have been halfway through my pregnancy, and yet despite all medical attempts, the contractions came in unbidden waves. I wept to the ceiling. “God, take him, he’s yours, he’s always been yours,” I cried, and then silently asked if the “taking him” could please be in the “allow him to live” sort of way. The illusions of control had been stripped away.
What followed was a gift of peace and a response. It was not the response I wanted, not “he’ll be fine” or even “he’ll live.” Rather, it was the one I needed. “I am here.” God, the God who breaks the bow and shatters the spear, knew and loved my son. God was with us.
And that was enough.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
When you walk through the bone-dry places, when all illusions of control are removed, I pray that you feel this depth of peace.
Laura McMullen is the executive assistant to the provost at Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.