“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). That’s how I learned it when I was a little boy. When anything from the Bible comes out of my soul, it tends to emerge in the language of the Authorized Version. Nothing at all wrong with that. “Tell the truth, but tell it slant.” That’s what the poets in all their beauty do for us.
Here’s a nice piece of trivia about the King James Version. Much of the beloved language of the KJV came years earlier from the pen of William Tyndale, an English Protestant who translated the Bible into the English language. “When I was a child, I spake as a child … eat, drink and be merry” … “the powers that be”: Tyndale turned all those familiar phrases.
As long as you remember that the King James Bible does not exhaust the possibilities of language or theology, you should be just fine.
What does all this have to do with Psalm 46:10? You may have read the meme recently. That phrase “be still” does not mean to stop doing everything. It means to “let go.” And that is an encouraging thought for those who have a great deal of trouble standing still. “I stink at meditation. I’m good for two minutes, and then I remember everything that I need.” Maamaw relaxed her mind by working. Some of you do, too. There are some who can “zone out” (or is it “zone in”?) much easier than others in the stillness and quiet.
For all of us, the greatest advice these days comes from those who have learned the secret of living with a terminal illness. Or who remember virtues forged in the Great Depression. Or who survived the Holocaust. From folks like that, you may hear something a little bit like this. Let go of fear, worry, the mirage of control. Let go so that you can hold on. “Calm down and learn that I am God.”