"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalms 46:10
Life as we knew it is on pause. What defined our typical daily routines, coming and going as we please, making our plans came to a screeching halt as COVID-19 has subdued the world. Schools have closed the doors and implemented e-learning, some out for the year. Restaurants and businesses are providing limited services. Thousands of employees are working virtually from home or have been furloughed. Churches are live streaming services. Millions globally are quarantined and ordered to stay at home by local governments, all in efforts to contain what seems to be uncontainable. How, Why, and What seems to be the common questions asked worldwide? How did this happen? Why now? What do we do? No one truly knows, but it's in times like these where we can make irrational decisions that can lead to disastrous outcomes. We may never understand how and why catastrophic events happen in life, but history has proven that what we do by exercising proper judgment can save lives. These are the moments where we can't turn to no one else for answers except God. These moments expose our limited abilities, understanding, and control. God has a way of reminding us of our feebleness. In Psalms 46, the author "encourages us to hope and trust in God, and his power, and providence, and gracious presence with his church in the worst of times, and directs us to give him the glory of what he has done for us and what he will do: (Henry 1996, 643)" He does this by issuing us an imperative in verse 10, "Be Still, which in the Hebrew, translates from the word "rapah," giving the sense of releasing something. God is urging us to release what we think we can control and give it all to him.
Within the last few decades, the world has gained a dependency on self. We've become a civilization that depends on our abilities, skills, power, and perception. The hustle and bustle of the business, commerce, profession, and personal promotion has prioritized our pursuits instead of God's. Revelation, 2:4, says, "you have abandoned your first love."
Globally, it seems as if we have forgotten about God and placed other pursuits, purposes, and people before Him. Historically and biblically, it was during times such as these where God would impose judgment upon his people for their disobedience and lack of commitment to Him. This judgment was not to destroy the people but to shift their focus back to where it belongs - putting a PAUSE in their plan. I believe God has implemented a "PAUSE" in our lives today through this virus to cause us to reflect upon what truly matters in life - family, relationships, and closeness to Him. So while God has us in this momentary affliction, we can P.A.U.S.E to see what he wants us to learn and seeing Him for what lies ahead in our future. P - Pray for God's wisdom: We should consult God first before we make any decisions that could jeopardize our safety and the safety of others. A - Await God's answer: God will answer our prayers according to His time and His way, not ours. In the meantime, we can trust whatever His outcome is, and understand it is to bring glory and honor to His name. U - Use God's wisdom: God, in His infinite wisdom, provided us with His word to serve as the guideline for humanity. Incorporating his word in our daily lives will consistently lead us down the right path. S - See His Presence/Power: Take time to see God's work, even in the most severe difficulties he reveals Himself in our lives and the lives of others. E - Experience His Peace: It is when we've sought God's consul, made choices and decisions based on His purpose, that we have genuine peace no matter what situations we encounter. So, although our current situation is uncomfortable, uncertain, and unkind, we can use this time to "be still" and "know" that He is God and has all things under His control. We don't no how this pandemic will play out, but we do know that He has the ability to bring us through. Have peace in the presence of unpredictability.
Dr. Stephone A. Berry
Henry, Matthew. 1996. Matthew Henry's commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Adjunct Professor/Doctoral Mentor at Columbia International University. Dr. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.