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What does it look like to be still?
Emily Krill
by Emily Krill
March 25, 2024

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Who knew eight words could be so powerful?! Every time I read them, I am immediately hit with two feelings: 1) peace like someone just covered me with a weighted blanket and 2) amusement that my solution was the exact opposite—“Be moving and doubt that he is God.”

But on the heels of those two feelings is a question: What does that look like?

God showed me the answer to this question on a recent family camping trip. It was the second of three nights we had planned to camp, and we had just wrapped up a really full day of hiking, swimming, and other fun outdoor activities. We even got our youngest to go to sleep at a semi-normal time despite everyone else staying awake a bit longer to participate in a s’mores fest. (This in and of itself was a borderline miracle.) All of a sudden, the whole campground was invaded by the sound of hundreds of cell phones simultaneously blaring a weather alert tone. It was the weather service announcing a tornado warning for our area.

The adults in our group quickly discussed the best plan of action and decided to grab the kids and shelter in the nearest concrete bathroom shelter. We ended up in the men’s room, crammed into two shower stalls. My mind kept going back and forth between terror and annoyance because OF COURSE this would happen on the night that I got my four-year-old to bed at a reasonable time.

This four-year-old, by the way, was still 95% asleep in my arms and feeling like he was gaining weight by the second. Every once in a while, he was halfway alert, but he just looked around at all his favorite people squished around him in a musty shower stall, told me he wanted to go back to bed, and then fell asleep again.

He and our dog both thought this was the single best part of the vacation. The rest of us were quietly anticipating the worst or nervous-talking to the nearest stranger to distract ourselves from anticipating the worst. It reminded me of the time that the disciples and Jesus were on a boat together in a storm and Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke him because they were moving and doubting.

In both cases—my son who has admirable childlike faith and Jesus who is, well, JESUS—someone (my son/Jesus) rested during the storm. They weren’t nervous-chatting. They didn’t accuse God of not caring. They didn’t get annoyed at the irony of the timing of it all. Their minds didn’t swirl with terror.

They were still and rested in complete faith that God’s will would be done.

This is what it looks like to be still and know that God is in control. It’s prayerfully shushing the swirling what-ifs and replacing them with faith in God’s goodness. With this mindset, it’s entirely possible that we can view even our darkest moments as “the best part of our vacation” moments because they are moments we get to witness God’s love, mercy, faithfulness, and power as up close and personal as if we were squished together in a musty shower stall with all our loved ones.