by Charmain Hibberd
Marketing Assistant (Writer), CBN Europe
During this lockdown season, I have been asking God what this time means. What does it all boil down to, personally at least? As I asked the question, I almost immediately knew the answer and it comes from scripture – be still.
Two Simple Words
Now, I am not a ‘busy’ person. I was already moving at a medium pace of life prior to the virus that has put our world at a virtual standstill. But there remained a stillness inside me that has come to the surface as these Covid-19 circumstances have unfolded.
My heart breaks for those who are on the frontline of this pandemic. The patients, Doctors, Nurses, healthcare workers, shop clerks and beyond who are giving more than just service but also risking their own personal safety in doing so.
As someone who is not fulfilling a frontline role, I have had the privilege to take stock of this time and consider what it all means.
These two simple words can be found in Psalm 46:10 and are often quoted. If you look up this verse in The Passion Translation, the headline to the whole Psalm is ‘God on our side’.
Be still. God is on our side.
The whole verse goes like this:
‘Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.’
If this season that we find ourselves in has shown me anything, it’s how ‘busy’ we had become.
Yes, the awful circumstances that have led to this slower pace are not desirable in any way shape or form, but surely God can use this change of events in history for good?
Be still. God is on our side.
I love that the Psalm uses the word ‘strive’. I think, sometimes, our busyness can come from a place of striving rather than a place of productivity and creativity.
It is possible to have a full and active life without the undercurrent being one of tension and stress.
I believe that striving to perform and achieve, especially in lockdown, is not what we’re called to.
There was a time in history when some of the busy ‘do-ers’ of the day were angered by the still devotion of a single woman.
In Luke 7:36-50 we read about Jesus going to a Pharisee’s home for a meal.
As He reclined at the table a woman – known to be a sinner in her town – entered the house carrying an alabaster jar of perfume. She stood behind Jesus and began to weep over Him, wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair and kissing them over and over. She anointed Jesus’ feet with the perfume she had brought – a lavish display of affection that offended the religious Pharisees deeply.
Jesus pushes back by telling a significant story of a creditor and two debtors. It’s here that we pick up the scripture:
“A creditor had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.”
“You have judged correctly,” he told him. Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
I am not a particularly ‘busy’ person but that does not absent me from finding myself in the eyes of the Pharisees whose ‘doing’ had become their religion.
Religion vs Relationship
The religious busy bodies of the time had been silenced by the devoted love this woman had shown, defended by Jesus Himself.
This story pulls on something inside of me that was missing during my coming and going prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. It reminds me that the still, non-striving, lavish devotion that God deserves from me was distracted by ‘doing’.
As I mentioned before, I am not a particularly ‘busy’ person but that does not absent me from finding myself in the eyes of the Pharisees whose ‘doing’ had become their religion.
This woman’s act was so important to Jesus that, in Matthew’s account of the same story, He declares that ‘wherever this gospel is preached in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.’
So, the challenge that I received in hearing the words ‘be still’ rise up on the inside of me was to cease my endless striving, my religious duties and simply be with my Saviour.
The only striving I want to take part in is striving to become more of a devoted follower of Jesus and less of a busy, doing, religious member of the body of Christ.