Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite Bible verses — “Be still and know that I am God.” This verse encapsulates the secret to successfully dealing with the issues of life. However, the advice the Psalmist gives in this verse runs contrary to our human nature. It’s our human nature to instinctively strive whenever we encounter difficulties in life — to wrestle and struggle and calculate and contrive to whatever extent we feel necessary in order to handle life’s difficulties. Such fruitless activity often leaves us feeling frustrated and robs us of the opportunity to see how God can deal with the same issue. The words “be still” or “cease striving” mean “let your hands drop” or “let go” or “relax.” God will not put His hands on a difficulty until we take our hands off. When we take our hands off and get out of the way, God will put His hands on the situation and work in such a way that we come to understand that He is indeed God. Here are four things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself dealing with one of life’s difficulties.
Release | First, whenever we encounter a difficulty we must release it into the care of the Lord. Psalm 37:5a states, “Commit your way to the Lord.” Psalm 55:22 declares, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” We read in 1 Peter 5:7, “[cast] all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” Whenever we encounter a difficulty we should first take the matter to the Lord and entrust it into His care.
Rely | Second, we must rely upon the Lord. Psalm 37:5 declares that we must first “commit” and then, “Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.” Whenever we encounter difficulties in life, the temptation to strive and to lean on our own understanding is great. However, we must act opposite of our own human nature, release the matter into the hands of the Lord, and then rely upon Him to guide us in the resolution of the matter. Such a resolution may require activity on our part or a great deal of patience. We must be prepared for both.
Relax | Third, we must relax. This is not a reference to inactivity or unconcern. Rather, it is a reference to waiting upon the Lord to work things out in His time. Psalm 27:14 declares, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Waiting is difficult for us to do. We do not like waiting. We abhor lines at the traffic light, at the grocery store, or wherever we have to queue up. Our society is geared to taking the wait out of life. Everything is becoming faster by virtue of automation and self-service and great technological advances. But in our spiritual lives waiting is important. We cannot hurry-up waiting! Waiting is a key ingredient in the development of character and spiritual maturity. And so, once we have released a matter into the hands of the Lord we must rely upon Him to work matters out in His time, which requires that we relax.
Receive | Fourth, receive God’s provision or solution or answer. God’s response to the matter will come in due time. If we will release (commit), rely (trust), and relax (wait), we will receive God’s response. Receiving God’s response to the matter we released into His care should serve to remind us that He is God and that He is faithful. We experience growth in our understanding of God when we commit our difficulties and impossibilities into His care and trust Him to faithfully deal with each of them.
Remember, there is absolutely no situation that we can release into His care that can baffle Him. God knows exactly what to do with every conceivable issue of life. Thus the secret to successfully dealing with the issues of life is to release (commit), rely (trust), relax (wait), and receive what God has for us. And then — remember to continue releasing everything into His hands. So, let your hands drop!
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Note | I wrote this devotional in December 1990. Applying the truths of Psalm 46:10 is not always easy, but it’s the best thing to do. God is faithful.