Many of the psalms are songs that express the chaos of every day life, and the extremes of human emotion. Often moving from hope to despair, from turmoil to peace all within a few lines of verse. Psalm 46 starts with a powerful declaration of trust in God, which is an inspirational verse for many people. It is a verse that has brought comfort and strength through many painful and difficult times.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”Psalm 46:1
How to achieve peace of mind in daily life
The psalm goes on to describe cataclysmic events and it is truly in those times that we come to know God’s ever-present help. The psalm ends with these two commands to ‘be still’ and ‘to know’ that God, is God. Ultimately, we can find peace of mind in our day to day life, no matter how tumultuous, when we know that God is Sovereign. And the final word is a reminder, that a time will come when God will be exalted in the whole earth!
What does it mean then to ‘be still?’ Stillness, is an outer and an inner requirement. Sometimes we physically need to stop and take a break. To stop all our activity and sit, like Mary did, at the feet of Jesus and listen to His voice. To be able to listen to the Lord, however, we don’t always need to be physically still, but we do need to still our minds. I have been reading a book that focuses on that inner stillness, the peace of mind, that enables us to receive from the Lord.
“We too need to have a purposeful emptiness, a readiness to be filled. If we fill up on trivialities or anxieties, we won’t have room in our hearts for Him.”Elisabeth Elliot
Be Still My Soul – Reflections on Living the Christian Life by Elisabeth Elliot. Available from Amazon
This book, as it says, is a series of reflections, all bound together by the theme of ‘Be Still My Soul’. The chapters are broken down into clear sections. To receive the truth that is revealed, you need to meditate and dwell on a short section at a time. Through the book it explores many of the big themes of how ‘to know’ God more, and how we can find peace of mind in our day to day life.
Peace Comes in Accepting God’s Sovereignty.
Throughout the book a clear message of the acceptance of God’s sovereignty, shines through from the author. I found the truth expressed as powerful because of her testimony, which added validity to her words. The Sovereignty of God is not an abstract concept or theoretical idea, it is at the very heart of our daily living. We cannot accept it in part or choose which parts of our lives it affects. When we take a step of faith and believe in the mystery of the Sovereignty of God it impacts every area of our lives.
Acceptance is the first step towards peace
The life of Christ was one of obedience and submission to the Father’s will. Remember how Jesus taught us to pray to the Father: ‘thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ A phrase that may run off our tongues, but which is much harder to live out. We so often find ‘my will’ so much easier. We are, however, in a covenant relationship with God, by His grace. This means that we have a choice in how we respond, in any situation. We make the choice, and pray for the grace of God, to enable us to follow through. The book touches on six choices that lead to acceptance – all worth exploring more and reflecting on!
Submit in love
Jesus submitted to the Father’s will, out of love and trust, but also with an eternal perspective – ‘for the joy set before Him He endured the cross.’ We often need to change our position, and receive a fresh perspective of God’s love for us. As we do our priorities will start to change. When we hold lightly the visible, temporal things, the invisible and eternal become ever more precious.
To see the goodness of God in daily life
“The joy and sorrow we experience in the circumstances of our lives speak to us about the mysteries of God’s sovereignty that are only apprehended by a faith-filled acceptance of every incident.”E.Elliot
When we look out in faith, from that place of acceptance, we start to see God’s eternal power and divine nature, His invisible qualities. Pray that you will see more of the invisible, the majesty and sovereignty of God in His creation, in events that are unfolding, and in the lives of those people around you. God is the Master weaver, and when we look carefully, we can see the threads of how He works all things together for our eternal good.
With acceptance of God’s sovereignty comes an inner peace that has nothing to do with external circumstances. The peace of mind, that we all crave, is founded by walking in faith. We learn to trust God through prayer and meditation of His word and then follow through with, grace empowering obedience. Just one day at a time…
Be still and know
The hymn ‘Be Still My Soul’ was the inspiration for the book. Still yourself for a moment, and enjoy listening to the powerful truth of the words – God may whisper a fresh revelation of His love to you today!
In You I rest, in You I found my hope
In You I trust, You never let me go
I place my life within Your hands alone
Be still, my soul, Be still, my soul.
To read more about the life of Elisabeth Elliot visit https://elisabethelliott.org
“Hard times come for all in life, with no real explanation. Elisabeth Elliot was no stranger to suffering. Her first husband, Jim, was murdered by the Waoroni people in Ecuador moments after he arrived in hopes of sharing the gospel. Her second husband was lost to cancer. Why doesn’t God do something about suffering? He has, He did, He is, and He will.”