When friends are struggling with some life difficulty, I tap into a small arsenal of bible verses that I share as encouragement. I am focusing on one of these in particular here because, as often as I share it and draw on it myself, it surprised me recently. By surprised, I mean knocked me to the floor, cut me to the quick, leveled me.
Psalm 46:10 is a reliable, go-to verse for encouraging people. The New International Version is the one I cite most frequently:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (NIV)
Heck yes! That is encouraging, isn’t it? God is God and He is big and capable of handling your problems, dear friend. God is in charge! Hallelujah!
Then, I was reading a devotional that cited Psalm 46:10. It happened to be a different translation of the verse that read:
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 (NASB)
In that moment, this translation brought everything to an uncomfortable standstill. That phrase, “cease striving”, dropped into my heart in a dramatic and painful fashion. With a definitive and convicting crash, it pressed me to investigate the verse further, as well as investigate my own conduct.
As often as I share that verse with others as a means of encouragement, I had never known the translation using the term “striving”. I looked over several commentaries regarding the matter and found that this term, in addition to being translated as “let go” and “relax”, also means “let your hands drop”.
Further, I discovered that Omar Garcia, from Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, TX, had written a reflective commentary on the verse as well, which is available in its entirety HERE on his website.
The part of Garcia’s reflection that cut me most deeply was “God will not put His hands on a difficulty until we take our hands off.” Lord have mercy. How many times have I laid a concern at the feet of Jesus, only to snatch it back from Him by worrying or striving to fix it by my own efforts and strength? I can’t tally the number. But there it was, staring me down: “let your hands drop”.
God has been using this translation from the NASB, along with Garcia’s reflections, to remind me of His sovereignty and that only when I “let my hands drop” can I truly say I am “still” before the Lord.
A particular example of this is my desire to grow my platform as a blogger, writer, and speaker. Trying to find the balance of working hard, while allowing God to promote and advance me, has been a teetering journey of striving, pulling back, worrying, repenting, and praying. My heart’s desire is to have my work reach a wider audience, but I was striving, rather than working in tandem with God. I needed to let my hands drop.
Perhaps there’s a situation in your life that you’ve been striving over, instead of letting your “hands drop”. As the verse says, He will be exalted. And it surely won’t be by your efforts, or mine. We must rest, be still, relax, let go, and let our hands drop, so that His mighty hand can be at work in our lives, for His glory. Amen.