“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 ESV).
This familiar passage, found in the first half of Psalm 46:10, has long been a favorite of mine. It offers comfort and encouragement as well as a challenge to my oft-frenetic lifestyle. I also submit that this is what worship is at its core. I pause long enough to acknowledge the reality of who God is, and in doing so, I put myself and my world into perspective.
My wife and I are the parents of three beautiful children who are amazing gifts from God. Yet, each of them adds another layer of complexity to our daily lives. Being still is something that just doesn’t happen naturally. Too often it doesn’t happen at all. Our waking hours are generally spent helping our sixth-grader navigate distance learning during the pandemic, wrangling the boundless bundles of energy that are our two little ones, tackling DIY projects so our house can become home, and fulfilling our duties to our employers. We do all of this while not having had a night of uninterrupted sleep in over two years. If any stillness comes naturally, it’s in moments of purely physical and emotional exhaustion, often as our heads are hitting our pillows.
However, it seems Psalm 46:10 is asking for my intentional, focused stillness. But it’s not easy.
Lyrics, Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm Open My Ears and Heart to the Gospel
I’m a musician, so as you might expect, one of the ways I intentionally find stillness before the Lord is through music. Sometimes it's listening to a song or a playlist, and sometimes it’s sitting at a piano and just playing. Maybe I’ll sing. Maybe I’ll try to write a lyric or a melody. It might be terrible. Or it might end up turning into a song we finish writing and share with the congregation. Regardless of how it happens or what comes of it, it’s hard to deny that there’s something deeply profound about the marriage of lyrics, melody, harmony, and rhythm. When the gospel message is presented in musical form, it finds its way to ears and hearts that would otherwise be unavailable or unreceptive. This includes my own ears and heart.
A song that has been particularly able to break through the noise of my life lately is Run to the Father by Cody Carnes. If you haven’t yet heard it, check it out in the Spotify playlist at the end of this blog post. There is a line in the chorus that has been running through my head constantly: “My heart needs a surgeon, my soul needs a friend, so I’ll run to the Father again and again and again and again.”
It’s a very simple but effective picture of my deepest deficiency and, at the same time, my greatest hope. It’s a reminder of my consistent need for a Savior. It is the core message of the gospel, and I think that’s why it resonates with me so deeply: I am utterly flawed, but he is entirely faithful. He is the only One able to repair my broken heart, the only One able to fill my empty soul. When I go too long without actively remembering and acknowledging this truth, I easily become delusional, thinking I can make it on my own. That inevitably leads me down a road of stress and anxiety, which—praise God!—eventually points me back to him.
It would make more sense that I’d be proactive and hopefully avoid some of the pain of doing life on my own. But even the “good” things in life can get in the way of the best thing. I suspect this may be true for you as well.
It’s natural to me to understand the commands of the Bible as opportunities for God’s glory, but it’s not so natural to remember that they’re also for my good. Have you ever read a manual or paperwork for something you purchased and noticed a message similar to this?
Do not return this item to the store! Contact us with any issues.
Doesn’t it make sense that whoever made the item is best suited to solve any problems with it? The same goes for us. We can’t expect a deep sense of belonging, purpose, and peace if we don’t follow the guidelines laid out clearly for us in our “user manual,” the Bible, and turn to our Creator when things don’t make sense.
Personal worship, whether involving music or not, is essential for life in Christ. We need the recentering, reshaping power of the Word and the Spirit in moments of quiet so that in the ever-abundant moments of not-so-quiet, we have the assurance that we aren’t alone, that the fate of the world ultimately isn’t up to me or you.
Berean Worship Team Shares a New Spotify Playlist
A few weeks ago, I sent out texts and emails to the majority of our band, singers, and production crew asking them to send me songs that have been meaningful to them during recent months, particularly in times of personal worship. Below is the link to a Spotify playlist that is comprised of the songs I received. Some are songs we sing often during Berean's weekend services. Others were brand new to me, and we may never sing them at Berean, but they represent the heart of worship behind the weekend worship experience at Berean.
These are the songs that our worship leaders are listening to when they’re worshipping God in their vehicles, homes, and offices. Our hope and prayers are that you’ll find a lyric or two that hits you in just the right way, at the right time, as if God is reminding you that he’s still here, walking every step of every day with you. All you have to do is be still.