Stand Still

The other day I asked the question, “What’s a person to do in a world gone mad?” My answer was ‘watch and pray’ (actually, it’s Jesus’ answer). Today I want to add, “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord… (Exodus 14:13).

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

It’s hard to stand still. It’s hard to wait in the best of circumstances – even harder to wait for God to act. It’s hard to wait on God because it means we have to put a measure of trust and a whole lot of faith in Something Unseen to act on our behalf. And that’s a very hard thing for humans – even believers – to do a lot of the time. We like to act, to move, to do something – anything – just not stand still and wait on God.

We like to pray and ask God to work on our behalf and then when we leave the prayer chamber and go back to our lives, we forget that we left that problem with God for Him to act upon and we try to fix it ourselves. And if we can’t fix it we complain bitterly about it to anyone who’ll listen until we hear the Holy Spirit reminding us that we gave that problem to God and He is working on our behalf to solve the problem that has the best outcome for us. However, that outcome may not be what we wanted but what God deems necessary for our continued spiritual growth.

Standing still and waiting on the salvation of the Lord can be (and is) a tough pill to swallow. You can’t crush it to make it more palatable. You can’t swallow any faster. You can’t force the pill to work when you want it to. You simply must stand still and wait. And watch and pray.

“All you who love the Lord, trust the Lord. He is your Helper and your Shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us.” Psalms 115:11-12

 

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Watch and pray

Everyday it seems like the world is getting worse – going absolutely crazy with unstable leaders in charge of nuclear weapons and the lives of billions of people. You watch the news and its easy to get depressed about the murders and assaults and vandalism, etc. You look at your own life and you see betrayal, rejection, confusion, disease, grief and worry.

What’s a person to do? Throw up your hands, go off the grid and head for the hills? Arm yourself to the teeth and join an anarchist militia? Dig a bunker in the ground and hoard supplies until the end comes? Join a religious cloister?

While those choices are viable options, there are the ones God would have us choose. In Mark 13, Jesus addresses these issues – the same ones the disciples faced are the same ones we face – and he tells them to watch and pray for no one knows the hour of destruction. He didn’t say run and hide, but to watch and pray. Be mindful of what is going on around you and pray for your family, neighbors, strangers, criminals and local, state and world leaders.

Countless generations have come and gone and each one has had reason to think the end of the world was near. People who lived in Europe during the bubonic plague years, knew it was the end. During times of great famine or flood or earthquakes or war, it was most definitely the end. Some folks thought the end would come in the year 2000 or in 2012 when the planets aligned. But, surprise! We’re still here.

So I ask again, what’s a person to do in a world gone mad? Realize the world has always been mad. People have always killed each other in innumerable ways; destroyed the environment; betrayed and rejected each other; and on it goes. People will continue doing these things until … ? But in the midst of the madness there are always a core group of people who put forth love, hope and faith to the world. Those people choose to trust God. They choose to have faith in an ever-loving, ever-present God. They choose love – in the face of all that is evil, unholy and destructive – they choose love. And through trust, faith and love, they watch and pray.

Getting knocked over by a kangaroo

Here I am, coasting along at a reasonable pace, feeling good about myself and my journey with God, then, BAM!!!, out of nowhere a kangaroo bounds out of the trees on my right, slams into me, knocking me over, then hops away, leaving me with a bloodied head laying face down in the dirt*.

Now, what am I to do?

I know! Blame Trump! Or Obama! Or Bush! Or my boss or my parent or my neighbor or – or – or…. Am I sure? Is the first place I go when there’s a problem in my life is off to blame someone?

Maybe, just maybe, I could look to God first. Not to blame; but asking “why” is a legitimate question. So is “how could this have happened?” or “when will it be over?” Of course, with questions like those I might not get an answer right away in the way I want. But I go ahead and ask anyway. To not question God about something that goes wrong may mean I secretly believe I’m in charge of this whole ball of wax and I alone can determine the outside forces that affect my life.

When a kangaroo pummels you into the ground, its okay to lie there for a little while. It’s okay wallow – but not too long! The longer you stay in the mud the harder it is to get back up again.

Get up! Now, look to God and ask why, what, when, where and how. Ask all your questions and be willing to accept the answers you receive, whether you like them or not. Trust that God wants the best for you and if the direction you were heading was going to lead to your destruction – then maybe it was a good thing that kangaroo came along. Of course, you may not know this for a while or even forever, but that’s where trust and faith come in.

You may also want to look inside and ask yourself, “Did I do or say something to cause this?” or “Am I holding any bitterness or unforgiveness toward anyone?” or “Have I given my worries to God and then not trusting Him, taken them back again?”

Sometimes there is a direct reason for whatever has befallen me. But I suspect that for a lot of the time, the problems I have are from sources beyond my control. And I hate not being in control. I am human after all and as such, the center of the universe – well, my universe.

And with screwed-up thinking like that it’s no wonder I ride into the paths of oncoming kangas. I’m an accident just waiting to happen.

But God is always by me and with me and helps me to my feet each and every time, loving and forgiving and healing my wounded soul. So, maybe next time I’m down, the first place I’ll go is the arms of a loving and caring God.

*An incident like this recently occurred to a bike rider in Australia.