Hush, Be Still
by Doug Mitts
And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. (Mark 4:39, NAS95)
It surprised me. Almost ten days ago, I simply sat, listening to the Spirit through the Word of God. What sort of conversation does God want to lead me into today? I read, reflected, listened, re-read and re-read a short passage in Mark. I don’t know when exactly, but it hit me like a ton of bricks and remains with me until this day. “Hush, be still.” Jesus’ words to the storm entered into my heart to rearrange and transform my soul.
This stretches me because I practice the literal-grammatical, etc., etc., approach to understanding the text. Yet the Spirit seemed to say, slow down your heart, listen to me, quiet, and He did so with an abundance of peaceful gentleness. I don’t know about you, but my interior has an incessant curiosity, a focus on the future, a desire to enter into what God desires, and in that context a constant wandering around what that means for the day — the day into which I am about to live. Here, God says, “hush, be still” to my soul, not to the wind and the water!
Hmm, I thought? Maybe my soul spends too much time wondering and too little time listening. Maybe my soul, literally, foams with waves and wind? Since it is normal, I don’t see the problem, but God does — He sees it keeping me from His best, and the leading His Spirit provides. Noise. Wind. Water. Waves. “Hush, be still” barges in to make room to hear the Spirit’s leadership, vanquish the whirlwind and allow His presence to take up residence.
This one phrase — “Hush, be still” — has taken up residence and called me to attend to the Spirit in the middle conversations, where my thoughts are whirling, keeping my tongue in its place. I’ve had it creep in and remind me to more deeply attend to others who are with me. A calm interior really helps. It has even touched my mornings with God, creating more space for His voice. Spirit leadership becomes much more possible when I have an ear to hear instead of a whirlwind to calm.
Warmly in Christ,
“He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:29, NAS95)
- When do you remember your soul being still in attendance to God? What was that like for you?
- What does it take for your soul to enter into still, gentle and attentive presence to God? What spiritual practices help you get there?