There is no doubt that our world has changed. For myself, everything about my life is undergoing change, some of the change is related to the impact of COVID and some changes are things I have decided to do myself. There is a sense of being in control and also the unrelenting feeling that nothing is in my control. In the year ahead there are disastrous circumstances for some; extraordinary difficulties to be faced by many, challenges that seem insurmountable and a general sense of the fear of the unknown. At times I, myself, cannot see a way forward. My natural inclination is to do one of two things: jump into action, find a way to win OR find a hole to hide and hopefully when I emerge, everything will have settled down.
In January I usually chose a word for the year and my first thought was ‘Change.” I am, afterall, facing a lot of change and I don’t necessarily know how to move on into 2021. In my quiet time though, the Lord impressed on me the word STAND.
The Israelite s felt the way I do in Exodus 14 at the edge of the Sea, with an expanse of water impossible to cross before them and an enemy out to destroy them, hard on their heels. They were afraid that they would die and cried out: “We don’t want disaster; we are willing to give up and go back to what we had before.”
What do we do, when we cannot go forward or backwards and the way to the left and right is blocked? What do we do when we don’t know what to do?
- Despair will say to us, “Give up, lie down, go home.”
- Cowardice will say: “What did you expect in this world, it is too difficult, abandon your principles, go with the flow.”
- Impatience will say: “Get up and do something.”
- Arrogance will say: “March ahead and expect a miracle.”
God says: “Stand firm.” Exodus 13:14 (Living Bible)
“But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today. The Egyptians you are looking at—you will never see them again.”
When we cannot see the way forward, God wants us to stand firm.
What does it mean to stand firm?
- It is a time to rest and renew our strength in preparation for what is going to happen next. Like soldiers who retreat and rest before their next battle.
- While we rest, we do not lie down like the defeated, like those who have no hope. Instead, we maintain the posture of standing firm. We stand ready for action, expecting further orders and patiently waiting for the Masters voice and His next instruction.
- While we rest, we tend to our responsibilities: the sick or broken need healing, what is wrong needs to be fixed, we strengthen what remains and prepare for the future.
- If change put us in a new position in the battle field, we set up camp and prepare for instructions.
So in times of uncertainty, we wait. Ready, expecting, listening, preparing until we hear the Masters voice say to us, like He did to the Israelite’s: “Move On.”
When God speaks to us, when He give us our marching orders, it will come with clear instructions how to move on and what to do. James 1:5
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
For me what is important here is not to rush ahead of the Lord and find my own solutions to problems. Neither does he want me to bunker down and hide from what is going on around me. Instead I am to maintain a mindset and heart of faith.
Standing is an active not passive activity.
It involves prayer, waiting, a renewing of the mind in scripture, a keeping my eyes focused on Jesus, putting on my full armor and building an expectation in my heart. Standing firm is being “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Eph 6:10) Like He says: “when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Thank you Father that even when I do not know what to do, You do. I can rest in Your strength and power and find refreshment. I don’t have to do anything or be anything, I merely have to wait until You show me what to do next. I do not have to panic or be afraid. I do not have to give up or surrender to circumstances that I want to get out of. I can wait, You will tell me what to do at the appropriate time. Thank you that my life is hidden in You, that I can rest in the knowledge that You are sovereign and in control.
- Have you experienced the feeling described above: Wavering between having to do something or hiding in a hole till it all goes away?
- Do you have a tendency to take control of circumstances and situations and jump into action without consulting the Lord or waiting for His direction?
- Or is your natural reaction to go into hiding, not see people, sleep a lot etc.
- What attitudes in your heart would have to change in order to STAND?
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