Be Still and Know
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I can’t believe its near the end of June now! I have survived the first half of 2010! Life has been rolling on and on for me. There’s barely time to pause and consider how far I’ve come by God’s grace. But still, I make the point to stop and be thankful that God has enabled me to go through this challenging 6 months of 2010 in VCASS.
Sometimes I am intimidated and just blown away by how good some of my friends are at music in VCASS. I wonder how I got here in the first place. Then I am thankful to God, because I know it is not by my own ability. Sometimes I wonder why I have to go the hard way. No matter how hard I practice, it seems I cannot overtake the others – some of them are just so pro at it. But is that all I want? To be better than the others?
I realize that God has other plans. I realize that I am blessed to have to go the longer way. I am blessed to be less experienced. I am blessed to have less. So that when I have more, I know that I have not attained it by my own strength, but by the strength and ability God gives. And when I have less, I learn to trust God all the more.
I know – yes, I am sure – that if I had everything, if I were good at it all, I wouldn’t ask God’s help. I wouldn’t look to God, I wouldn’t thank Him for the abundance I have. I would be a selfish, boastful stuck-up.
Sometimes, like most people, I wonder why I can’t be like a person who seems to have it all. But God has reminded me that each one has a different story. No one can copy another’s story. No one can write his own story. Remember that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. If I stick to God’s plan and storyline for my life, I won’t go wrong. The problem starts when I try to write my own story and go my own way. No wonder life is often a mess, full of worries and fears, full of wrong turns and regrets.
This week I had my first ever solo performance to a real audience. For the first time the recital room was filled with other students and guests. It was my last performance for the Semester. After that, I can relax for 3 weeks before Semester 2 starts. I had completed academic and music exams, now this was the last hurdle on the list to complete! It was going to be the most nerve-wrecking one. I was praying hard that I wouldn’t stuff up the performance and that I’d end the Semester well.
I remember the morning of my performance, as my dad drove me to the train station, I asked him what he was going to preach about on Sunday in church. He said it’d be based on the Scripture in Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.” As I sat in the train, beginning to feel nervous for the performance later, I pondered the verse. Be still and know that I am God. What does it mean to “be still”?
I knew I had to trust God with this. I couldn’t do it on my own. I don’t know how the others do it, but as for me, I know I can’t do it unless God gives me the peace and confidence to perform. I knew that no matter how hard I’ve practiced, in a performance, anything can happen. You can stuff up and slip a note or have a memory lapse any time round the next line. But coming back to the verse, how can I be still and know that God is with me?
The only way is to call out to God and have faith in my heart that God is able to work through me and help me. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
God says those who place their trust in Him can never fail, because He is with them all the way. Even if I do fail, there is always something good to learn and that God can teach me from failure. I realize it is better to fail and learn to depend on God rather than to succeed and be self-confident. You are in your weakest, most wretched state when you think you are strong and successful.
I am learning to depend on God in the split-second moments when I am performing. I think that’s what this whole performance opportunity is for. So I’ll learn to call out to God in the split-second moments of life and trust Him to get me through. In performance, when I worry what the audience is thinking, or that I’ll forget and stuff up, I call out to God. And amazingly, each time I remember to do so, I manage to keep going and move on to the next bar without forgetting or making any mistakes. It feels like I’m an acrobat on a tight-rope. Any moment I lose focus and certainty, I can fall on either side!
When I came to VCASS and realized I’ll have to practice performing on a regular basis, I wondered why oh why did I choose to come here. But of course, I knew that this is God’s answer to my prayers 4 years ago. I prayed that someday I’d have the chance to perform. I can’t believe I’m doing it now!
All in all, I’m learning again and again to be still, to pause in the free moments of life (when I’m on the train or walking home) and look to God for strength, peace and guidance. I’m learning to not trust myself and think I can do it on my own. I’m learning to have faith in God alone, confident that God is able to help me. As I rely on God alone, I hope that I will be able to know His goodness and power more and more each day.