How many times have you murmured these two words to a troubled heart, or had them murmured to you? So easy to say, so hard to obey! I imagine most of us have experienced that overwhelming sense of being unable to carry on, or bear a particular burden any longer. We cry out to Yahweh in anguish, we border on despair. Our faith staggers under the severity of the pressure. Sometimes there will be the strong shoulder of a friend or loved one to lean on, and we find strength and courage from their support.
There are times, of course, when a comforting shoulder is not available, or the battle is a spiritual one we must fight alone. What can we do? We may home in on Paul’s assurance that Yahweh can be trusted not to test us beyond endurance but always provide a way of escape [1 Corinthians 10:13]. But we cannot see that escape route and, sinking into despair, we beg Him to save us. This is the time to hear Yahweh say sweetly, “Be still and know that I am [Elohim]” [Psalm 46:10].
Hudson Taylor, a British missionary who spent more than 50 years in China, was 21 years old when he left England for Shanghai in 1853. He was to become the founder of the China Inland Mission and recognised as one of the greatest missionaries of all time. He was a man of courage, faith, and prayer, living an extraordinary life of passion and service. He was the author of a dozen books. During the final months of his life, this amazing man was so weak and feeble he confided to a friend, “I am so weak I cannot write. I cannot read my bible. I cannot even pray. All I can do is lie still in the arms of [Yahweh] as a little child, trusting Him.”
This is what Yahweh wants of us when we’ve become weak and reached the extremity of endurance; be still and trust.
“Be strong, He has not failed you
In all the past,
And will He go and leave you
To sink at last?
No, He said He will hide you
Beneath His wing;
And sweetly there in safety
You then may sing.”