Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stillness

"Be still, and know that I am God."
Psalms 46:10 (KJV)

Sometimes the thing that takes the most effort of all...
is to be still.
There are situations, circumstances, moments...
in which the hardest command of all to obey....
is to "Be still."

Everything within us wants to "do" something.
We don't like feeling that we are not in control.
We feel like we are spinning our wheels....
and accomplishing nothing.  
It would be so much easier to just move...
to take charge...
to go forward.

But, God says, 
"Be still."

I have prayed countless prayers, 
seeking God's direction,
hoping for a proactive answer...
when I have, in the deepest recesses of my soul,
heard His still, small voice...
His gentle whisper say,
"Just be still."

"But, Lord, shouldn't we do something?
We've been still for quite a while,
isn't it time, Lord?
Isn't it time to make a move?"

"No, child.
You are not ready.
Be still.
Be still and know that I am God.
Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Relax.
Just be still."

Sometimes being still is all we are capable of.
Any other action would be entirely too much.
There is healing to be found in the stillness.
Peace and a gentle communion with the Almighty...
is found in its solitude.

Why is it that time spent in stillness is automatically
dubbed as wasted time? 
Why do we think we should always be doing something?

The Israelites were in a very tight place.
They had been in a strange land,
under bondage to a cruel taskmaster,
for around 400 years.
God placed a special call upon Moses to lead them out of bondage....
to go before Pharoah and beg for their release.
After many appeals, Pharoah had finally
agreed to let them go.
It wasn't without a fight.
He didn't want to relinquish his control over them.
They were his slaves....
they were hard workers.
He would be hard-pressed to find others like them.
God got his attention
by sending ten horrible plagues upon the land of Egypt, 
the last one being the worst of all.
The firstborn of each Egyptian family was killed...
all in one night...
as the death angel passed through their land.

This was more than Pharoah could take, 
so, at last, he released them to leave Egypt to go to their own country...
a country that God promised to them.

How glorious their day of deliverance!
How light their hearts as they made their way out of Egypt!
The future loomed bright before them, 
and their hearts were full of joy.

But, alas!  Soon they met with the biggest obstacle of all.
They found themselves standing in front of the Red Sea...
with absolutely no way across.
Just when they thought things couldn't get any worse,
they heard the sound of horse's hooves....
pounding the ground....
behind them.
Louder, more pronounced, more threatening they became...
the closer they got to them.
Pharoah had had a change of heart!
He wanted them back.
He decided he didn't want to let them go, after all.

With the Red Sea an insurmountable obstacle in front of them,
and their enemy in hot pursuit in back of them,
they were in quite a predicament.

Their situation, their future, their outcome...
seemed beyond hopeless.
What would they do?
Where would they turn?

They couldn't go forward, 
and they sure didn't want to go back.

God's answer?

Turn around,
fight,
go after them,
defend yourselves,
rise up,
and DO something???

I'm afraid not!
His answer to their immediate,
overwhelming dilemma?

The complete opposite of what they must have expected,
 and not what they wanted to hear, I feel sure.

God told Moses to tell the people to simply,
"Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

In my words,
"Just be still.
Stand firm.
Don't do anything.
Don't make a move.
I see it.
I'm in control.
I've got it.
I've already initiated a plan.
All you have to do is be still,
stop struggling,
and let me do this My way."

Stand still??

Really?

How could they?
Everything within them must have wanted to do something.
In reality, what could they do?
They were surrounded...
penned in...
by complete, total human impossibility.

Sometimes, God allows us to be in a position where we have no choice.
That the only option available is to acknowledge our incapability,
to turn it all over to Him,
and to do the hardest thing of all...
to stand still....
and let HIM do the moving on our behalf.

What do you think would have happened
if they would have disobeyed God's simple command?
What if they would have risen up and tried to fight Pharoah and his mighty army?
There were unequipped.
Unprepared.
Incapable.
Weak.
Unequal to the task.

They were outnumbered and without a solution...
of their own.

But, God!
He is never without a solution!
He was their God!
They were His chosen ones.

He told Moses to hold his rod over the water of the Red Sea,
and one of the biggest miracles in the history of time took place.
The waters parted, right down the middle,
they stood in a heap on both sides, 
and here's the most amazing part...
the Israelites walked across the middle of that sea
on dry ground.
They weren't bogged down.
Their wagon wheels didn't get stuck in the mud.
There was no mud.
Where untold gallons of water had stood just moments before,
the ground was now completely dry, 
without a drop of moisture,
and firm enough for every single Israelite man, woman, boy, and girl
to pass over unharmed and unsoiled.

They stood still.
They saw the salvation of the Lord.
His means of deliverance was so far above and so far trumped
any remedy plan they could have come up with on their own.
Had they taken matters into their own hands,
they would have completely missed the miraculous deliverance
He had planned for them.

His way of escape is always the best way out.

After the last Israelite foot landed on the bank of the far side of the Red Sea,
with Pharoah and his army on their heels, 
God caused the two heaps of water to relax and fall back into place.
Their enemies scrambled to get away, but were covered by the water.
They drowned trying to bring God's chosen people 
back into bondage.

When God fights a battle,
in His way,
in His time,
with His resources,
He always wins.

Always.

Why do we get so anxious?
Why don't we want to be still?

We should never fear the Red Sea in front of us,
or the threat of the enemy's hot pursuit behind us.

When we are surrounded,
when there is no human way out,
when the loud, threatening taunts of the enemy scream, "No hope!",
God commands stillness.

He wants to show us what He can do.....
when we admit to our own incapability,
are willing to step out of His way,
and when we make the choice to obey the hardest command of all....
 just be still.





1 comment:

  1. Do you know how many times in the last couple of months I've shamefully uttered the words, "There is no hope and no human way to fix this?" And do you know how many times I keep coming across that very verse you wrote up top? ha, ha. And now, here I am reading your post from all these years ago. It's hard to be still. Thanks for this reminder.

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