“Be still and know that I am God.”
From Psalm 46:10
Psalm 46 begins with the following first four verses:
“God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.”
The disciples who were on the boat that was being tossed around on the Sea of Galilee had probably heard this psalm and even prayed it before. It is different, however to remain confident that God is with us when we are in the middle of a tempest! Their level of fear that their boat would be capsized and that they would drown was real. During the last watch of the night, from 3 to 6 a.m., Jesus comes to their aid by walking on the water. Peter is able to do the same until his gaze turns away from the Lord. He then begins to sink. This Gospel reminds us to heed the words of Psalm 46, placing our trust in the Lord even when battered by the storms that life brings us.
In verse 10 of Psalm 46 we are reminded to be still in order to recognize the presence of the Lord. After traveling 40 days in his escape from the evil Queen Jezebel to the refuge of the top of Mt. Horeb, Elijah experiences a driving wind, then an earthquake and then fire, but God was not there. Sunday Homily Helps states that: “All three dramatic dramatic displays of power were associated with God in the past. There was a driving wind at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). There was quaking and fire on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:18). But this time God is not associated with such displays of force. . . . Finally, there is a tiny whisper of sound. . . . God’s lesson seems to be that Elijah should quiet down from his declared jealousy and instead dispose himself to listen and learn.” We too are called to be still and know of God’s presence within our midst; not in grand manifestations of power, but in stillness and silence will we come to know our God and the protective mantle of our Good Shepherd who calms the sea as well as our hearts.