It was two days into my internship, and I was already overwhelmed. And perhaps a little depressed. It had been three days since moving to a new house, a new city, a new state. There were no familiar faces. Every conversation meant introductory questions. “What’s your name? Where are you from? What did you study? What are your life dreams? Who are you?”
For an introvert, the burnout was inevitable.
Usually I hide away for a day or two and feel better. I retreated to my basement bedroom, yet I knew all the new-ness would just be waiting until I ventured out. The only solution would be to grit my teeth, push through, and work the unfamiliar into familiarity. Down there in the basement, I began to feel lonely for the people who already know me intimately. I missed the people who can sit in a room with me, and we don’t have to say a word.
While I was wondering why I had ever left home and questioning my life’s direction, a simple verse came to mind.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I took a deep breath, and the stress began to dissipate like steam. This verse from Psalm 46 has often been a balm for my soul, but its power intensifies in context. Open the psalm in a new tab, on your phone, or in a leather-bound Bible. It only takes twenty seconds to read.
The two-second summary would be this old worship song says God is big, powerful, and in charge. He’s called our refuge and fortress, and he puts an end to the world and all its violence. After taking the world by the shoulders and shaking her up a bit, God announces in verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.”
This isn’t the God we’re used to hearing about in our modern worship. We sing about God’s wonderful love, not his drive to be known throughout the earth. But when I’m in trouble, it does me no good to hear I am loved.
What I want and need to hear is who loves me.
So when I remembered, “Be still, and know that I am God,” I heard, “Be still. Quiet those anxious thoughts running circles in your head. Don’t you know who I am?
“I am the great I AM, the eternal one, the all-powerful King of kings. I am unchanging and unmovable. I can destroy the world in a breath and recreate it again with a word. I am in all places at once and see all things. I knew you before your birth because I am your Creator and Father. I have not and cannot forget you. I care for you and your concerns because I am love incarnate. You belong to me, and I will ensure your best good.
“Calm, child. I am God.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:11