Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we examine the truth, "Be still and know that I am God." We shall endeavor to ascertain divine values and meanings from this truth.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalms, Chapter 46, Verse 10
Brothers and sisters, we know that a value and a meaning are true if we can experience it; conversely we know that a value and a meaning are false if we are unable to experience it. Thus, error cannot be true because it cannot be experienced; only truth can be experienced. But even so truth has to be embraced by faith before it can be experienced. "Divine things have to be loved in order to be known." Let us see how the truth of ““be still”” is revealed to our souls and minds.
Experience has taught and revelation confirms that it is the Father’’s will that we experience this life, with all of its ups and downs, good and evil. Although we may not commit evil, we may be victims of it. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the waters of adversity and cannot find any material mooring. It is extremely difficult to describe the emotional reactions we have to these floods of life. It is like suddenly being exposed to icy cold water--it takes your breath away. Warmth is suddenly replaced by the cold.
It is like an unexpected electric shock that stuns and leaves your nerves shattered. It is like being caught between a rock and a hard place; you can find no comfort. And when the emotional reaction is combined with physical and psychic pain, we begin to feel something akin to panic and fear. We feel trapped with no way out. We are victims of time, which seems to drag on and on. The seconds seem like minutes, minutes like hours, hours like days, and months seem like years. Such is the subjective experience of time when we are locked in one of life’’s painful embraces.
All the while, we are conscious that we are materially disintegrating: a gray hair here and there, a sudden back pain from bending over; loss of vitality, energy that cannot be restored no matter how much we rest or sleep. Merciful sleep evades our grasp, as we long for temporary respite in dreams that never really come. We toss and turn as the nocturnal hours wind their way through the night to greet the morning. And when morning finally arrives, we wearily push our bodies out of bed for one more day.
As we claw our way through this life, our minds sometimes become cloudy and somewhat dull; our memory begins slowly to fail us. And like a record going round and round, we try to recall a fact or a memory to no avail. If we are lucky, sometimes the fact or memory will reappear long after we have ceased our search. Otherwise, it is gone forever. Our bodies increasingly lose the power to do what our minds command them to do. If we insist on them performing as they had in the past, it is like beating an exhausted mule. If we continue to beat it, it will die.
As we approach the golden years, we are forced to make major changes in our daily routine. We wake up one day and find that our work career is over. Suddenly we are engulfed with the reality of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. This causes quite a bit of disorientation and emotional antagonism, for even though the work experience has come to an end, we are still primed to go. It is as if we have been running a marathon race and stop, our legs reacting as if we were still running.
In our moral and spiritual lives, we are beset with difficulties that we can’’t quite define. We feel as if something is not quite right but cannot figure out what it is. We search our minds and souls trying to locate the source of the difficulties, and we identify some possible causes of the discontent. We soon discover there is nothing wisely we can do about them. But most of the time we find that we are fighting a shadow. We can’’t seem to find the knock-out punch. We would like to improve our relationships and find there is little interest in doing so on the other end. And then like Job, we examine the spiritual aspects of life, straining to make some sense of it spiritually, trying to identify the value and thus the meaning.
We call out to God, asking him to please help us. But here we run into a different set of difficulties. When we call out to God to make sense of it all, we must receive his revelation by and through faith. But doubt rears its head, and we are sandwiched between doubt and belief. We go back and forth, one instant saying we believe the value and the meaning, and the next instant, saying we don’’t. And then back to our starting point: ““I don’’t know.”” What a fix we find ourselves in, wanting to believe but no able to. We find ourselves in that predicament where we must believe more than our minds can know. This is a situation ripe for error.
We cry out to him in agony, begging him to please respond to our cries; we beg for reassurance that the understanding that we have received is the correct understanding. "Lean not to your own understanding, and he will guide your footsteps" races through the corridors of our minds, like race cars at the Indiana 500. As we continue our petitions, our minds become saturated and refuse to accept any more input. Our requests are seized by the material currents of our minds and drowned in the sea of anxiety, depression, and even despair. These doubts stand guard before the gateway to our souls, saying ““don’’t even think about it." And ““make my day."
Finally we become mentally and physically exhausted. We can’’t consciously pray anymore. We have used up all of our self-sufficiency and have begged and pleaded for divine sufficiency. And now we are really in a fix, needing help but unable to ask for it and therefore unable to receive it. We don’’t see anything (discern the divine values) and we can’’t hear anything (comprehend them). What a cruel fate: sleep has abandoned us; our minds are in turmoil; our emotions are raging and we can find no emotional relief. We sink into a nameless despair.
But then something happens: we stop fighting and accept the situation. When we do this our minds quiet; our emotions subside, and we can see and hear the voice of hope and trust. They were calling to us all the time, but the noise and desperation drowned out those merciful voices. Now we can no longer resist, the channel has become clear. We allow faith to surface again and begin to think clearly under the shining light of faith. And then we hear those merciful words: "Be still, and know that I am God."
We realize that he was with us all the time, strengthening us in our souls, fanning the fires of hope, and telling us to trust him. He says, "I am faithful; I will never leave you no matter what your emotions say to you, no matter the doubts of your material mind that tells you that your search to find me is all in vain.”” ““Here I am. You did not see me because you searched for me with your material mind rather than with your faith." Don’’t you realize, my son, how you have grown in the midst of these storms? Don’’t you see how your desire to love others as I love you has grown? Don’’t you recognize the wisdom that you received from me?"
We review our past experience with him and realize that there was never a time when the urge to love was absent; or the urge to be merciful was muffled; there was never a time when the urge to be patient or to forgive was derailed. Never was there a time when divine goodness failed. Only we allowed the soft voice of faith to be drowned out by our desperate cries for material and emotional relief. "Don’’t you know that by now that your emotional response to an experience decreases as the acuteness of the experience declines? How often must I remind you to use your faith to discern divine values and meanings?
How long will you continue to allow material difficulties of this life to steal the joy of your steady march towards moral and spiritual perfection? Don’’t you yet realize that these material difficulties are the potent stimuli that bring out all of these potential values in your soul? Don’’t you realize yet if there were no evil to compare to the good, you could not choose the good? Don’’t you realize yet that if there were no doubts in your mind, your faith would not have anything to overcome and therefore would remain powerless?”” ““It is the exercise of faith in the very face of doubt that propels faith to supreme levels where you find rest and know that I am God. Don’’t you realize that if there were no situations requiring patience, that you could not choose patience? Do you think the display of the fruit of the spirit is some kind of imaginary illusion?"
"Don’’t you realize that it is my will that you go through these storms of life and be transformed in the process into the image of my Son, Jesus? Moral and spiritual perfection are not the result of wishful thinking or a life of ease, requiring no strenuous exertion. Rather are they achieved by grappling with the progressive rigorous and strenuous moral and spiritual realities concealed with in this very life of material toil. Trials and tribulations are the soil in which the moral and spiritual character grows and flourishes. I promise you that if you will follow my Son, Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, when the storms of winter are completed, you will be found to be standing tall, for it is "the Father’’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." ““Be still my son! " You are safe and the world can do you no harm."
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of being still. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry