“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11, NRSV)
People have a special opportunity to be still, these days. Not necessarily “be quiet,” because the clamor of the kids captured within the house, the television on too long, or the general pressure of people who would rather be somewhere – anywhere – else is not a formula for quiet.
But one can be still. As lives and routines and jobs have been disrupted, this can be a chance to use a part of that unaccustomed time to listen for God’s voice, comfort, and counsel. To carve out a corner of room and of the imagination from that unaccustomed schedule to be still and wait for God’s presence.
Be mindful that the God who is everywhere does not answer on demand. Being still, inviting God, listening for God’s voice is something for each of us to do. It is, really, a way to live every day. And, from time to time, when it’s most needed, we become aware of God’s presence, hear God’s voice, realize there in the stillness that God is there also. All of the time; all in God’s time.
To realize, as well, as we begin hesitantly and cautiously to depart those crowded rooms, to reenter the neighborhood and the world, that God is there also. God is there, counseling each of us to look in the eyes of the people we encounter, to take the special care that is formed by distance, by a mask, by a little extra patience.
To know that the God heard in the stillness is the God seen in the face, even behind the mask, of everyone we meet.