Be Still and Watch

It’s hard for me to be still and watch.  I’m a doer.  I’m an achiever.  I spent over 34 years of my career “making things happen”.

So I like to skim over all the situations in the Bible where God tells us to “be still and watch”.  And God says this often.  You probably don’t notice how often he says this unless you’re trying to ignore him when he says this – like me.

In 2 Chronicles, King Jehoshaphat tells his people not to be discouraged by the huge, combined army that is marching toward them. “You will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.”

After saying this, the king and all the people bowed before God with their faces to the ground and they worshipped God.

This creates a great visual picture in my brain because they were acting like they had already won!

Because they had.

Early the next morning, they marched out to their positions singing praises to God.  They were not afraid – God was going to fight for them.

And he did.  The huge enemy army became confused and started fighting each other – killing everybody in their own army.

God’s people won without raising any weapon except their trust in God.  It took them three days to gather up all of the supplies and valuables left behind by the dead army.

Wow!  God is saying to me and you today that there are battles coming at us which he wants to fight for us.  We just need to trust and be still and watch.

I have something in my life that I’ve been ‘battling with’ and God just reminded me yesterday that I need to give it to him. (I actually should have given it to him a while ago).  Today he is confirming that through his Word to me.

I’ve been trying to make it happen but it just hasn’t.  Frustrating!  So now I’m going to be still and watch.  I know I don’t really want it to happen unless God also wants it to happen anyway, so I like this plan.  Everytime I think about it, I’m going to send it up to God in a prayer, “Do your will, Father.”

I trust that he wants the best for me so I will be still and watch.

Thank you for reminding me and confirming this for me, Abba Father.

Fear

It makes me anxious.

It makes me worry.

It makes me focus on ‘what if?”

My fears usually center around situations that I have no control over.  There is nothing I can do to get rid of these thoughts that fill my mind with dread –

except trust God.

He is in control.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  I believe that with all of my heart and soul.  He has proven it over and over.

When I remember to trust God with all of it, the fear goes away.  Confidence in my Good Father wipes out the anxiety and worry.  I say to myself, “What if I just let God handle this?” and the dread of what could happen disappears.  I know that, no matter what, God is going to walk beside me through it.  He has always been faithful in the past, he will always be faithful in the future.

The spies who Moses sent into the Promised land seriously missed this trusting in God idea.  They were scared – the people living in the Promised land were big and powerful.  Their towns were large with high walls around them.

The spies spread their fear through the rest of the Israelites until they became so scared that God tells us in the Bible that they cried all night.

Caleb and Joshua were two of the spies and their report was much different from the rest.  “Let’s go at once to take the land.  We can surely conquer it.”

What?  The people of Israel were trembling in fear and Caleb is saying they must go ‘at once to take the land’?  How could the response of Caleb and Joshua be the opposite of what the rest of the spies were saying?

The difference was that Caleb and Joshua trusted God.  It was not about the Israelites doing this on their own.  God had promised to give them the land, so God was going to do it.

They trusted God so they were willing to obey him in spite of how the situation looked.

How good am I at trusting God in those kinds of situations?

How trusting are you?  Have you been anxious or fearful lately?

Please help us trust you with all things, Abba Father.  Take away our fears and anxiety.

Blessed

Aaronic Benediction, 2018

“The Lord bless you and keep you,”

I desire your blessing, Father.  Please keep me close to your side.  Draw me even closer when the waves of trials and the unknown try to overwhelm me.  Hold me tightly when the struggles seem too difficult to endure.

“The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you,”

Shine the light of your love and truth in my life each day, Father.  Help me push back the darkness that is all around me.  May your grace overflow in my life to others so they want to know you.

“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Yes, Father.  I want to know you better and see you more clearly as you move in my life.  Grow my trust in you, Father.  I know that it’s through my trust in you that you will give me peace.

Please give me peace, Abba Father.

Little by Little

One step at a time.

Deciding to trust God’s direction with my next decision even though I have no idea how this is going to work out.

Persevering through each struggle, not losing sight of the Light.

“Little by little”.  Moses uses these words as he is speaking to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land.  “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.”

Then Moses said, “You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

I’m on my 7th year of reading the entire Bible and God has never bolded these words (figuratively) and stopped me here before. God did not give the Israelites victory over all of their adversaries all at once because the wild animals would have taken over the empty land.

I would love it if God would just take my trials and problems away – all of them – all at once.  Take them all away, Father!

But God doesn’t do that.  Little by little, step by step, he leads me through the struggles.  He draws me closer as together we move through the confusing and dark times.  God does not eliminate all of my issues because then I would be very tempted to count on myself and not on him.  I need to remain dependent on him or wild animals (bad choices and wrong thinking) will also multiply around me.

But little by little is so hard, Father!  Not knowing how it all turns out is very difficult.

Except –

when I’m trusting God.  When I’m breathing and moving in line with my Father God, I only need to keep my eyes on him and take the next step.

Because God’s got the rest.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Beyond Measure

This doesn’t look like a good thing.

It doesn’t feel anything like a blessing.

What happened in my life is too hard and sad to ever have a good outcome.

But what it feels like and looks like is not all that’s happening.  God is orchestrating his will through the tough circumstances in my life.  He is planning the best future for me and it’s obvious that this future looks nothing like I thought it would.

When my son was killed, my plans and dreams blew apart and the only option I had was to hold on tight to my Rock.  I trust that my Father God knows what he’s doing.  Even though I don’t like it, I choose to trust.

Joseph’s story in Genesis encourages me.  He experienced many dark, confusing and cold places – and God was with him each time.  When Joseph finally was put in charge of all Egypt, he began to store grain in preparation for the famine which God had revealed to him was coming.  God blessed Joseph’s efforts to the point that he stopped keeping records of the amount of grain ‘because it was beyond measure’.

As we read on in the story, we see that God’s plan to save Joseph’s family from starvation during the famine was also ‘beyond measure’.  The plan started way back when Joseph was a teenager and only God could have put all of the puzzle pieces together in the way that he did.  Only God could bring this much good out of the evil his brothers intended when they sold Joseph as a slave.

I am a witness to the fact that God is still bringing good out of evil.  I trust that, like Joseph, God is with me and I will be blessed ‘beyond measure’ as he completes his will in my life.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Whatever

I pray…

then I listen…

and, when God points out my next step, I need to do it.

It’s a big mistake to ask God for guidance and then not do what he says.  That choice is going to cost me.  It’s going to cost you.  There will be consequences.  Our perfect Father is not going to miss this ‘teaching moment’.  So, when I ask, I better be willing to do what God says.

The Israelites asked Jeremiah to find out if God wanted them to go to Egypt.  God gave them a clear and loud ‘no!’ but that’s not what they wanted to hear so they went anyway – an extremely bad and costly decision.

A friend of mine told me this week that she has begun telling God ‘whatever’.  Not – ‘whatever, I don’t care’. But – ‘Whatever you want, Lord.  Whatever you have planned, Father.  I’m good with whatever you decide – just let me know if I’m supposed to do something.’

That’s a huge ‘whatever’.

In my life, I have found that it’s the perfect place to be.  When I say ‘whatever’ to God, I’m acknowledging that I am SO not in control.  And I’m trusting in the One who is.  I am also committing that I am willing to ‘whatever’ he wants.

Facedown on the floor, I say ‘whatever’ to the Creator of the Universe.  I say ‘whatever’ to my all-power Father who loves me and wants the best for me.

Surrendered.  Right where he wants me.

Whatever,  Abba.  I trust you.

Growing Through It

Trials in my life have brought me pain…

and much heartbreak…

and an ocean of tears.

But they have also helped me grow in my faith.  As I have persevered through my current darkness toward the light, God has kept his promise by constantly being right by my side.

After asking God for wisdom for this journey, I find that he has given me insight and knowledge when I need it to make decisions and take next steps.  I have no doubt that God hears all of my prayers and is in the process of answering them in a way that is best for me and my family.

But it is extremely hard to consider this all joy as James tells us to do in his first chapter.

Maybe in years to come I will consider some of this trial as joy.

a-sparkDon’t get me wrong – there are small sparks of joy now.

Sparks of  ‘this is why’.

Sparks of ‘God is moving mountains’.

And my trust – our trust – is growing as we have had to hold onto God with both hands as we figure out how to move forward.  There is some joy in that.

I trust that he has the best planned for me and my family.   Trusting brings hope and peace and strength.

Please help us to continue to grow, Abba Father.

Will I Step Out?

We want to see God move in our lives.

We pray.

We know he is on our side.

He walks with us and talks with us, and he tells us that we are his own – words from a great old hymn.

We ask him for his intervention in our lives and in the lives of others.

But how much do we trust him?

How far will we go to show that trust?

Often, in order for us to see God move in our lives, he leads us to a place where we need to step out in faith.

One of my favorite biblical illustrations of this truth is when the Israelites were finally ready to cross the Jordan river into the Promised Land for the first time.March 10 b 2016 step pout in faith

They had been waiting and planning for this for a very long time.

Joshua received these instructions from God, “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you’ (Joshua 3:11).

And, as soon as the priests who were carrying the ark set foot into the Jordan, ‘it’s waters flowing downstream will cut off and stand up like a heap.” (13).

The Bible also tells us that the Jordan was at flood stage.  It was not the quiet river it was when I was there 2 years ago (picture).gDSC_0585

The water was raging out of its banks.

And – notice – the priests holding the ark were going to have to set their feet into the Jordan before it would stop and part for them.

How much trust did this take?

They obviously trusted God enough because they stepped into the flooding river and had front-row seats in witnessing God perform a miracle.

God often asks the same thing of us today.

Yes, we want to see him move in our lives and in the lives of others.

Yes, we are often asking for a miracle.

Do we have enough trust to step out in faith before we see him move?  Before we witness a miracle?

Even when its scary?  Messy?  Different?

Please grow our trust in you, Abba Father.