Be Still Knowing God (By “Cutting Slack”)

For Lord’s Day, August 23, 2010

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Dear Saints,

Recently we took comfort together in a sermon on Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  We learned here that the way to have peace of heart and mind in this raging world is to know that God is on His throne.

We also saw that the Hebrew word for “to be still” means to slacken one’s tight grip.  We considered the common phrase, “Cut me some slack”, which comes from docking ships and means “loosen the rope”.  If the rope is too tight, there is no room to relieve or readjust.  And leaving slack allows the boat to float with changing tides without having its balance upset. 

I have since meditated on this meaning of “be still” through a few of life’s little applications that I thought would help further illustrate the idea of relaxing in God by loosening our slack.

First, to my great frustration I normally go through a mound of dental floss on the bathroom counter at each flossing as the string repeatedly snaps every few teeth.  Experimenting with a “looser” hold did the trick.  Cutting some slack now keeps the floss from being continuously cut amidst my tight bite.  Much more pleasant, including for my wife who no longer has to endure a series of “ugghhh!” before we go to sleep.

Second, as you know, we needed to have the church’s sound system fixed again.  After moving things around to work the problem last time, we decided to add a movable shelf on rails to the pulpit to more easily access some components.  This opened up a shelf to get the main amplifier off the floor; but as we reattached its cables to its back, one of them was not quite long enough and so a tight stretch to reconnect—and as we feared, we learned its inner wire severed while we plugged it back in.  So we had to have the sound guy come out to repair it for us. While he did, I asked him to splice in more slack (extra cord) in case we ever needed to move it around again; that way, we’d be able to keep it loose and readjust without breaking it next time.  He did so.  And its relaxing to know we have room to adapt again if needed.  And the outdoor speakers are now working once more so we can ring the “bell” into the community and enjoy hearing Psalms sung as we gather for open air worship.  

Third, while I and the boys were watering the backyard gardens, I needed more hose to get around the corner of the house and water the far lot.  There was enough hose unwound already, but it gets stuck and the excess on the other side needed to be brought over so that I could pull the slack and smoothly advance.  Without doing that, it’s impossible to proceed.  Once waiting for some extra slack instead of tugging and straining the work became easy.

These examples are rather elementary but they show us how to “be still” before God: loosening our hold and sinking into God’s hands with more room to breathe and move.

Remember, peace is not the absence of problems but the resolved awareness of the mighty and reassuring presence of Christ.  And submitting to it by giving up some slack.

So I ask you again as I did at the end of that sermon: Are you not feeling quite right? Are you uptight?  Tense?  Beloved, Be Still (loosen some slack so you relax) Knowing God.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant