Be Still – When Striving Cease 

David, the Giant Slayer; David, the Mighty Warrior; David, the Beloved King; and yes, David, “the Man after God’s own heart. David messed up, he questioned, he suffered, he ranted, he despaired, he relented, and most importantly, he returned to God.

How many times in the last three to four years have we found ourselves in a tight spot; a frustrating or fearful time? Maybe in a season of doubt, questioning, struggling, and maybe even a seasoning of feeling defeat?

I ran across a quote today actually two. The first one was from Psalm 38:9. (more on it later) The second was on an index card note taken from a Bible study years ago by Beth Moore called The Quest which said: “Every single season of defeat is driven by a lie.” I had to take a few moments to ponder that one. I thought of Adam and Eve and their deception in the garden. It was accurate. In fact, that was the first deception or lie. It brought shame and separation; they realized their exposure, covered it and hid from the very God, the very One who made them and placed them in that beautiful garden.

“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’? ” “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:1, 4-5‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

Then there was Moses. Moses when he was upset about the people grumbling against him and his leadership, God told him they were not grumbling against him, rather against God, Himself. Also, accurate. Moses was feeling defeated because he believed the lie that the people’s displeasure was directed to himself but the truth was they were angry with God.

Another example that comes to mind is the incident where the twelve spies went into the promised land: they brought back some of the treasures from the land. Two of the spies had wonderful things to say about the land, but the other ten only reported there were giants in the land. Big scary Giants! So the Hebrew people continued to wander in the wilderness rather than possessing the promise. My conclusion, this is a quote which is well worth putting some thought and research behind. The second quote follows below:

“Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.”
Psalms‬ ‭38:9‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

The above is the second quote I ran across this morning. How comforting a promise is this? How often do we go through difficult times and often feel no one else knows, sees, or understands? We all go through times of struggle, down times, suffering, illness, doubt, and the list could go on. One problem, we don’t often talk about it and we think we are alone in our struggles. This particular Psalm is entitled Prayer of a suffering Penitent. David, king, and ‘man after God’s own heart’ struggled, suffered, did wrong, and felt contrition. He describes his condition like this:

“O Lord, rebuke me not in Your wrath, And chasten me not in Your burning anger. For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, And Your hand has pressed down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭38:1-5‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

“I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning, And there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭38:6-10‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬
A Psalm of Suffering by King David

“Benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart.” Can we not relate? Just a quick look at the headlines— Wars, Baby food shortages; school shootings; rapidly increasing food and fuel prices; the list is ever increasing and surely we can relate much more than we’d like to admit. Our world is fast paced and filled with many demands, expectations and responsibilities. We have many gadgets to help us be productive and get things done faster and easier. One would think that would free us with more time available for rest and relaxation to renew and restore our hearts, our souls. But no, for many or maybe most, it just gives us more time to push ourselves harder, get more done and fall exhausted into the bed to get up and do it all over again. Can we, like David, find our answer?

“Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, And in whose mouth are no arguments. For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God. For I said, “May they not rejoice over me, Who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me.” For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong, And many are those who hate me wrongfully. And those who repay evil for good, They oppose me, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭38:14-22‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Again, for many or maybe most, it just gives us more time to push ourselves harder, get more done and fall exhausted into the bed to get up and do it all over again. It’s quite like a hamster on a wheel or a dog chasing it’s tail. Until we stop, and do something different; we continue to get the same outcome. Maybe it is time to stop the wheel, get off and find a quiet peaceful place and be still. Be silent for a time. Reflect on the best thing instead of falling constant prey to the tyranny of the urgent; the things of the moment. Taking time to seek the One whom “our sighing is not hidden.”; the One who knows us best just might be the answer we need. I’d like to suggest to you that perhaps God alone is the One to whom we can take our deepest issues, disappointments, unmet expectations, worries and fears and completely trust them to be safe, understood and addressed.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-17, 23-24‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

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