Being Still

passage-of-the-jews-through-the-red-sea-1891large

Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea by Ivan Aivozosky, via Wikiart

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” 

I am a fixer. When things go wrong, I spring into action.

Finances are tight? I’ll get a job. House is chaotic? New chore charts and color coded systems and time management plans. Kids fighting? Parenting books on order from Amazon. Basically, anything that goes haywire around here – I’m on it.

The trouble with this is that I rarely take the time to actually ask God what should be done about the issue. I assume that I know best and go for it.

Enter the Israelites. If you ever feel like you’re failing at the whole love and obey God thing, they will always be there for you with a life lesson.

In Exodus 14, we read the story of the Israelites being led by Moses out of Egypt. It’s been a long time coming, and there have been plenty of signs and wonders to let them know that God has ordained this move. They have done what God asked them to do, and they seem to have been delivered out of the hands of the enemy. Then, just as they taste freedom for the first time, a cloud of dust rises up on the horizon. Pharaoh, the enemy, their captor, whom they believe they’ve defeated, is racing after them, ready to take them back as slaves.

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” Exodus 14:10-12

The people of Israel looked up and panicked. Never mind the whole ten plagues ordeal, never mind that their neighbors, of their own accord, handed over their valuables, never mind that they had walked out of the place of their slavery with singing. As soon as adversity hits, they panic. As do we.

Why did you bring us here? Didn’t we tell you this would happen? (Side note: thank you, NLT, for making the Israelites sound exactly like my prayer life right now.) Lucky for them, they have a fearless leader.

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13

How many times do we need to hear this message? Just stay calm. It’s going to be okay. Have you done what He asked? Are you taking the small step every day? Are you moving in the right direction? This is all God really asks of us: to do what He says one day at a time.

A wise woman once told me, when I came to her frustrated about my calling, to ask God each morning, “What do you want me to do today? Where do you want me to go? Who do you want me to serve?” The key word being today. We don’t need to see the whole plan mapped out, and God knows we might panic and turn tail if we did. We just need to listen and obey for today. 

Ironically, once the Israelites do settle down and start to listen, God tells them to get moving. But that’s the point, really. We’ve got to stop and listen in order to hear our next move. Maybe the next move really is springing into action. Maybe it’s sitting back and waiting. Maybe, as in Moses’ case, the next step is to do the miraculous.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” Exodus 14:14

We’ll never see the miraculous if we don’t first stay calm.

What’s next for you? What does God want you to do today? Where does He want you to go? Who does He want you to serve? What next step does God have in store? I love to hear your stories, and I pray for each one of you. Leave me a comment and let’s move forward together. 

P.S. I will love you EVEN MORE if you share me with your friends. 

 

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