I journaled the beginning of this poem about three months after moving to Hanoi, Vietnam. In this bustling city finding a pocket of serenity is a rare and beautiful thing. I wondered throughout my entry how I, a quiet country girl at heart, could adjust to living in a city where every moment seemed saturated with people and noisy bustle.
Years ago I recall hearing a parable-like almost Screwtape Letters-esque story about the Devil calling his legions together and strategizing how best to undermine the advancement of God's kingdom. After entertaining many suggestions from the legions of demons, the Devil finally says THE answer is to keep humans busy. Convince people that there are many very important tasks needing their attention. This way humans will have so many things distracting and occupying them the result will be that with their attentions divided, humans would be rendered unable to completely focus on the still small voice of God. The acronym then stands that humans being BUSY is (Being Under Satan's Yoke). We humans were created to work diligently and serve as stewards. Additionally we humans were created in God's image to seek and embrace a sabbath or rest. The Creator modeled this balance of diligent work and spiritual rest in Genesis chapters 1-2. Chapter one outlines a flourish of creative genius and chapter two shows us how the Creator punctuated His work. "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
In Psalm 46:10a God gives the imperatives, "Be still and know that I am God." First, "Be still." Readers generally take this to mean silence or quiet. If one will quiet the mind and surroundings, one is half way there. In the Hebrew rapah or rapa means, "let down, drop faint, slacken, to cease." Some scholars say the term carries the connotation of a soldier battling on and then just dropping the weapons, ceasing to engage in the war. This metaphor intrigues me. Often I feel like I am fighting and engaging on many fronts and losing battles left and right. However then the second imperative enters AND, "Know that I am God." See it is not until I stop flailing about by my own volition and let God be who He is in my life, that I have any hope of winning the battle or the war. Like my peaceful holiday, few and far between are the times I am still and aware. Like Hanoi, my life will not quiet anytime soon. I must be more intentional about seeking out opportunities to disengage and BE STILL, otherwise how will I KNOW?