Are you one of those people who doesn’t sit still until you collapse in exhaustion late at night? “When I was four years old I remember my grandmother asking me, “Lisa, can’t you just stand still for a minute?” I was active then and I am still active now. For me, being still is a discipline.
But I am discovering that when it comes to our personal battles, God works best in our lives when we stand still and don’t try to control our circumstances.
It worked for Moses.
When he and the Israelites were scurrying out of Egypt after 400 years in captivity, the Egyptian pharaoh changed his mind about giving the Israelites their “get out of Egypt free” card and pursued them. In their terror, the Israelites said encouraging things to Moses like: “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14:11)
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Moses wasn’t kidding. He and his people didn’t even have to throw a stone. God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites made it across. This time, when they looked back in terror, it was because they saw the Egyptian army swallowed up by the sea as it closed its watery doors on top of the soldiers.
What is your personal Red Sea? The one that you need God to part? Do you long to walk through it to safety?
I am finally beginning to learn that striving isn’t always the best way to accomplish a goal. When we surrender our lives, our children, our spouse, a job or a ministry to God and let him lead us in these areas, often times we only have to pray and stand still and watch him work. But it may take a while to see results.
Years ago, a woman in my Sunday school class worried about her husband’s eternal security. His health was failing. She prayed fervently but nothing she said or did changed how he believed. She hesitantly decided to take a trip to see her son in another state and left her husband with a caretaker. While she was gone, the caretaker led her husband to Christ. My Sunday school classmate said, “I guess God just needed me to get out of his way!”
She finally stood still and let God work.
I love what author and speaker Karen Ehman said in her Let.It.Go. Bible study, “God called. He’d like his job back.”
We have to remember only God can change hearts. It is God who provides favor. He is the one who clears a path through the waters when they threaten to overtake us.
We are probably all guilty of controlling and manipulating situations. I used to try to lead God on the Pearls of Promise dance floor but now I’m letting my heavenly father twirl me around, and it’s a lot more fun and less anxiety-filled. That’s just ministry. I still have some other control issues that need tweaking. I like to drive rather than be driven, lead rather than serve (but Gpd is working on that), fix rather than let things run their course.
How do we control our propensity to control?
Sometimes we have to stand still and trust and know that whatever happens is what God desires and if it doesn’t happen, it’s OK.
In what area of your life do you need to stand still? Ask God to help you loosen your grasp on whatever scenario you’re trying to control and he will part the waters if you let him.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)