Calm in the Midst of Chaos

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, NRSV)

Christmas is the busiest time of the year. There is shopping to do, family activities for which to plan, and church commitments to fulfill. It can be overwhelming. It is comforting to know that we are not alone. In times like this we need to be reminded that God is with us and that He is in control.

Ancient Israel faced many difficult times. Sometimes their entire existence was in jeopardy. One such instance is reflected in Psalm 46. We do not know what event triggered the composition of this Psalm. We do know that Israel was in trouble. The author uses powerful metaphors such as “though the earth should change,” “mountains shake” and “tremble,” and “waters roar” (46:2–3) to reflect their tumultuous circumstances.

The psalmist responds with trust and hope. His focus is on God. He reflects on God’s unwavering strength (46:5a), His past work (46:8–9), and His commitment to His people (46:5b, 11). The psalmist records God’s exhortation: “Be still.”

This is not a call to idleness. It is an invitation to rest because of who God is and an opportunity to be reminded of, and to reflect on, God’s presence and position in His creation: God is “exalted” (46:10–11).

We know what God can do. Not only what He has accomplished in our lives but also what He has accomplished through His Son, Jesus. In a sense, Christmas is the ultimate application of this Psalm. Humankind was doomed. We were totally lost and helpless. At the right moment, Jesus came and delivered us from sin and death. God is to be exalted.

Thus, in the midst of all the planning, shopping, parties, church activities, and other preparations, remember who God is and what He has done through Jesus. God invites us to take a moment and reflect on the reason we are doing all of this. He is God. He is in control. Be still.