Do you have scriptures you don’t like? I have one. I’ve previously written about my aversion to what I call my boomerang verse. No matter how many times I try to ignore it, it keeps coming back: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 37:10).
This scripture has guilt inducing properties for two reasons. First, I’m a borderline hypo-maniac and it goes against my nature to be still. But the main reason I never bonded with this verse is because I had several misconceptions about what it means to be still. I used to think prayer was only a silent activity—a moment of quiet reflection. I conjured up images of humming monks or prostrate priests. To me, those were the spiritual standards I measured my prayer performance against. The truth is, often my mind wandered during prayer or worse yet, I fell asleep. How could I be an effective Christian and flunk prayer?
To this day I still don’t do “still” very well, but it was a great awakening when I recognized the false beliefs I had about being still. In Psalm 46:10, being still is only half of the commandment contained in this scripture. The other half of the verse is to “know”. In other words, the instruction to “be still” and “know” are a couple. You can’t divide this scripture and only do the being still part.
To know comes from the Hebrew word yada`, which means to perceive and see, to find out and discern, to discriminate and distinguish. It also means to know by experience. Here’s the bottom line: We can’t get to the “know” if we haven’t first been still. Bear with me for one more definition. I think you will find it enlightening. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart (NKJV).” In this verse, wait comes from the Hebrew word, qavah, which means to look for, to hope and expect.
So here’s the deal. When you’re expecting a baby, you prepare for that baby. You purchase baby clothes, furniture, decorate the room and most importantly pick out a name. You know the baby is coming, so you don’t just sit around and wait for labor pains. While you are waiting, you are also preparing because you expect the baby to come. If all you’re doing is chilling and hanging out, when the birth comes you won’t be prepared.
Joseph’s story in the book of Genesis illustrates this point well. Joseph had two dreams when he was 17 years old. Shortly after, his dreams seem shattered when his brothers plotted his disappearance. But Joseph held onto his dream. Even in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances, he didn’t give up. His dream fueled his ability to endure extreme adversity, and while he waited, he allowed God to prepare him.
In the middle of his funk, the Bible points out a very significant detail: The Lord was with Joseph. While taken captive as a slave, while he was falsely accused of rape, while he was in prison and forgotten, the Lord was with Joseph. You see, instead of hanging out and doing nothing, Joseph developed at attitude of expectation. In slavery, he was given leadership positions, and even in the bondage of prison he prospered.
Here’s the key point I’m trying to make: Years later, when Joseph was given the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he had developed the leadership skills to implement the plan he recommended. It was so brilliant Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. In one day, Joseph went from prison to the palace. Why? Because he was prepared!
What if we arrive at the thing or place or season that we are waiting for, but we miss the opportunity to do what we were anticipating because we didn’t prepare while we were waiting? We wouldn’t be ready. Neither would have Joseph. If Joseph would have allowed himself to slack off, he never would have been put in charge when he was in prison. Instead, even in a place of bondage, he allowed God to use him and perfect his leadership skills. He allowed God to prepare him for the destiny he knew would one day come.
Joseph was still and he knew. And so can you! Don’t give up on your dream. Allow God to use the hard places of your life to prepare you. Between every dream and destiny is a desert, but if you’re still and know he is God, He will use your desert to prepare you for your destiny.