The Power of Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Literally, this means, “Relax—cease striving—and know that I am God.” Stillness before the Lord spawns salvation—healing, security, well-being, wholeness, victory. Ironically, doing nothing in the presence of God actually accomplishes something.

Again David wrote, “But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131:2). A weaned child is no longer anxious, whining, or dissatisfied. It rests peacefully. William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, once wrote, “True silence is the rest of the mind, it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” When we are distressed, we become agitated, restless, or anxious. Being still quiets the storms raging within us.

More than a century ago A.B. Simpson wrote a wonderful poem called “The Power of Stillness,” in which he tells of his own experience of its renewing, restorative power:

Years ago, a friend placed in my hand a little book

which became one of the turning points of my life.

It was called True Peace.

It was an old medieval message,

and it had but one thought, and it was this—

that God was waiting in the depths of my being to talk to me

if I would only get still enough to hear His voice.

I thought this would be a very easy matter,

and so I began to get still.

But I had no sooner commenced than

 a perfect pandemonium of voices reached my ears,

a thousand clamoring notes from without and within,

until I could hear nothing but their noise and din.

Some of them were my own voice;

some of them were my own questions,

some of them were my own cares,

some of them were my very prayers.

Others were the suggestions of the tempter

and the voices from the world’s turmoil.

Never before did there seem so many things

to be done,

to be said,

to be thought;

and in every direction I was pushed and pulled,

and greeted with noisy acclamations and unspeakable unrest.

It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them,

and to answer some of them;

but God said, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Then came the conflict of thoughts for tomorrow,

and its duties and cares,

but God said, “Be still.”

And as I listened, and slowly learned to obey,

and shut my ears to every sound,

I found after a while that when the other voices ceased,

or I ceased to hear them,

there was a still, small voice in the depths of my being

that began to speak with an inexpressible tenderness, power, and comfort.

As I listened it became to me the voice of prayer,

and the voice of wisdom

and the voice of duty

and I did not need to think so hard,

or pray so hard,

or trust so hard,

but that “still, small voice” in my heart

was God’s prayer in my secret soul,

was God’s answers to all my questions,

was God’s life and strength for soul and body,

and became the substance of all knowledge, and all prayer, and all blessing;

for it was the living GOD Himself as my life, and my all.

Beloved! This is our spirit’s deepest need.

It is thus that we learn to know God;

it is thus that we receive spiritual refreshment and nutriment;

it is thus that our heart is nourished and fed;

it is thus that we receive the Living Bread;

it is thus that our very bodies are healed,

and our spirit drinks in the life of our risen Lord,

and we go forth to life’s conflicts and duties

like the flower that has drunk in, through the shades of night,

the cool and crystal drops of dew.

But as the dew never falls on a stormy night,

so the dews of His grace never come to the restless soul.

We cannot go through life strong and fresh on constant express trains,

with ten minutes for lunch;

but we must have quiet hours, secret places of the Most High,

times of waiting upon the Lord, when we renew our strength,

and learn to mount up on wings as eagles,

and then come back to run and not be weary, and to walk and not faint.

The best thing about this stillness is that it gives God a chance to work.

Excerpted from God’s Healing Arsenal: A Divine Battle Plan for Overcoming Distress and Disease by Paul L. King, available at


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