By Toni Ford
Last week, the college for which I work came to a close, and we were grateful to be able to end this school year with an in-person graduation ceremony. At this time last year, practically the entire world was cooped up inside, experiencing quarantine due to COVID-19, and we were limited to a zoom graduation at best.
As several of my co-workers and students were standing around prior to the ceremony, reminiscing about the past year and all the challenges we had faced as a college and in our personal lives, it made us even more thankful for the opportunity to be in person once again and celebrating together.
During one of the conversations, a friend walked up and said, “I sure do hope you are able to take some vacation time and go on a great trip.” My first thought was not about going somewhere and traveling, although I do look forward to a short trip later this summer. Rather, my response was, “The best vacation I could have is to quiet my mind for a couple of days.”
I’m not sure if it is my age or the pace of life I have been keeping lately with my job or all the changes our nation and our world have encountered over this past year, but the one thing I find myself having to work on is learning all over again how to quiet my mind.
This thought of “quieting my mind” is the reason why the 46th Psalm resonated deep within my soul. Most people recognize this psalm as the basis for Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” However, the historical background to Psalm 46 is believed to be the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians during the time of King Hezekiah. Although the story is found in several places of Scripture (2 Kings 18-19 and 2 Chronicles 32), my favorite place to read this story is in Isaiah 36-37. As a result of the Lord’s protection over Jerusalem and victory over the Assyrians, King Hezekiah composes Psalm 46 as a song of victory to be sung among the people. This psalm was to serve as a daily reminder of God’s presence and faithfulness and the difference it makes when we trust Him in the changes and difficulties of life. King Hezekiah had seen and experienced firsthand God as his tower of strength, his refuge, his fortress and high tower. He knew God to be his “ever present help,” “Emmanuel, God with us,” and his river of life, not just to him but also to his people, the Jews.
This brings us to the last two verses of this psalm, the ones that echo with my spirit. Psalm 46:10-11 says, “Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” “Be still” literally means, “Take your hands off, relax!” This means to let go of the need to control, let go of trying to “fix” things or people and instead place your trust in the Lord and let Him work on your behalf and in His time. I realized that taking my hands off, being still, and trusting in the Lord leads to a quiet mind! Hezekiah realized that when we are still and trusting in God to work on our behalf, we will see His promises fulfilled with greater clarity and right before our very eyes!
No matter what is currently happening in this world and regardless of what man wants to dispute or argue, in the end, God will be honored by every nation and throughout the world. No one will ever be able to take that away. Isaiah 2:11 reminds us: “Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.” This revelation and truth are coming soon for ALL mankind to see. Until then, rest in knowing that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among you as your refuge and fortress!
Dear Jesus, thank You that You are returning soon and will be honored throughout this world. Evil will not continue much longer, for You are a holy God and You are working amongst Your people. Help each of us to learn how to be still, take our hands off, trust You more and as a result come to know You at a deeper level!
If you would like me to join you in prayer please e-mail me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!