PAUSE: Be Still & Know God (Intro)

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Ever have one of those days where you've said, "Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong..."  Life is busy for most everyone.  The typical day for many involves getting the kids to school on time, taking them to various different sport practices, piano rehearsal, ballet, math tutoring, youth group, snatching a quick bite to eat (many times in the car) and then home for homework before bed.  Mix into these tight schedules doctor appointments, caring for elderly parents or grandchildren, shopping for groceries and vehicle maintenance.  Then busy productive people come to church and the Pastor encourages them to read their bibles and pray.  The response is often thought, if not spoken, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  There doesn't seem to be time for God personally—we get our families and ourselves to church but there doesn't appear margin left for anything else!  Add even more with serious illness, relationship breakdowns or job crisis and it can seem the world is descending into chaos.

Life will get crazy. But as crazy as life gets, God is always with you.

Psalm 46 comes to us as God's counsel for people with busy and productive lives.  Psalm 46 comes to us who find our lives a bit (if not a lot) crazy.  The reformer Martin Luther found Psalm 46 of particular comfort during a stressful time in his life.  This powerful Psalm became Luther's inspiration for the hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

Breaking into 3 stanzas, the Psalm opens with a flourish that declares God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  God is with us in our mess, crisis and the craziness that can be life. Because God is with us, the writer goes on to state "therefore, we will not fear."  Within the Psalm the chaos of nature and human relationships surround the reader.  Chaos reminds us that we're not in control—like finding yourself in an earthquake.  In human relationships the chaos appears when we realize we can't control how other people act.  In chaos we fear loss, humiliation and pain.

The refrains of stanza 2 and 3 is "The LORD (Yahweh/Jehovah) of hosts is with us.  The God of Jacob is our stronghold."  These stanzas reinforce the opening proclamation that God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.  Life will get crazy.  As crazy as life gets, God is always with you.

It's easy to drift away from God when the distractions of life take over.  It's easy to fail to see the good in life when the bad seems to take over; leaving one to wonder where God is.  Let us not judge those who find themselves drifting harshly for life is complicated and often hard.  The fear or loss, humiliation and pain will often manifest themselves in depression, anxiety and even self-harming behavior.  It is at times like these that the church family can shine and bless by helping one another, acknowledging life can be hard (even for Christians) and refusing to heap shame.  A church family can help affirm the frail faith of those who have drifted from God by caring, listening and helping one another cope with the chaos & craziness of life by leading them to Jesus.

Nestled within the Psalm is powerful counsel.  "Cease striving and know that I am God."  Be still and know God is the counsel of God for people who feel overwhelmed with life.  How do we be still when we have mouths to feed, mortgage payments to make, kids to get to school, bills to pay, and elderly parents to care for?  Most people cannot simply put life on hold, but is there a way?

Be still and know God.  For the next 5 weeks we will take counsel from God to PAUSE.

P - Prayer, an open communication with God.
A - Act on God's Word.
U - Use our spiritual gifts.
S - Serve others.
E - Engage the world we live in and share the hope of Jesus.

Life will get crazy.  Everyone's “crazy” becomes relative—the student with term papers due; the engineer with a important projects, the parents raising kids and so and so forth.  As crazy as life gets, God is always with you.  Because of the craziness of life, knowing how to be still and knowing God becomes critically important.

Do you know anyone who feels overwhelmed, stressed, or too busy for God?  Know anyone for whom having a "quiet time" let alone going to church seems impossible?  Know anyone who struggling to keep it together and feels the world is spinning out of control?  PAUSE is just the thing for them—be still and know God.

Life will get crazy. But as crazy as life gets, God is always with you.