For me, about the hardest Scriptural command to obey is “Be still” (Psalm 46:10). As in, relax, calm down, cease striving, quit thinking so much about how you wish things were.
As in (I can hear God saying to me as I write this), “Why are you interrupting your work every fifteen minutes to check the Weather.com page when even those in charge of it can’t make up their minds on what will happen when?”
It’s true: the weather systems over Houston and surrounding areas have been so turbulent for over six weeks now, even professional meteorological predictions for the near-immediate future change multiple times per hour. The Weather.com “hour by hour” forecast acts like the definition of “wishy-washy”: “[1 p.m.] There’s a 90% chance of heavy thunderstorms at 3:00. [2 p.m.] No, actually that’ll be 5:00, and they probably won’t be all that heavy. [3 p.m., rain falling outside] Expect occasional [it’s always ‘occasional,’ even when the posted figures say 100% chance for the next four hours] thunderstorms to continue for the next several hours. [4 p.m., sky now partly sunny, yet periodic thunder still audible] Thunderstorms 20% possible, but not until 8:15 p.m. Oh, and by the way, that flash flood watch that was in effect until 7 p.m. Friday? Make that 7 p.m. Saturday.”
I don’t really expect a flash flood to hit near where I’m sitting now–not Friday, Saturday, next week, or this August. I’ve seen enough forecasts of this type to know that 90% of them turn out to be nothing more than worst-case scenarios (for this part of town anyway). Not that I’m happy about it. Okay, one can hardly blame the weather bureau for erring on the side of caution–especially when the overall area not only has many a genuine flood, but has broken multiple records this spring. But it’s no fun to long for reassurance and keep being reminded that even the experts are in a state of constant guessing over whether it’ll be catastrophe instead.
Small wonder, perhaps, that many people go around mad at the only One Who does know for sure. The things God chooses not to tell us (or solve for us) are legion. No skeptical argument carries more emotional weight than, “If God is real and if He cares at all, why does He let tension and anxiety run rampant in the world?” (Which translates to, “If God made us in His image, why doesn’t He handle things the way we would?”)
I’m not even going to attempt to discuss that question here; the chances of anyone ever answering it satisfactorily in this world make the likelihood of a 100%-accurate weather-forecasting system look as certain as the likelihood of Friday coming after Thursday. Instead, I refer back to the “Be still” command that opened this post–and on to the second part of its sentence. “Be still … and know that I am God.”
Not a mere human with merely human reasoning and emotions. Not a being who depends on anyone else’s permission to act, or who owes anyone an apology or explanation. Not some capricious deity who tosses thunderbolts at random to watch us run for cover. God as the Hebrew writer of Psalm 46 understood Him: incomprehensible to human understanding, protective and loving despite everything, unfazed by the worst of chaos because–regardless of what happens–He remains in full control of everything.
“Be still, and know that I am God” doesn’t mean “Shut up and take it.” It means “Relax and trust.”