Two words I have heard my entire life are, be still.
As a child with way too much energy and a father with very little patience, those words decorated the air in my youth. “Diane be still at the table!”, “Diane be still in the car!”, “Diane be still, be still, be still!”
It was very easy to understand what my father in essence was instructing me to do . . . he was basically telling me to stop moving!! Be still always meant the same thing . . . sit still, don’t move, and stop fidgeting.
But now, as an adult, I hear the voice of a different father instructing me with those same words, and yet, I can’t help but feel they have a completely different meaning.
The first time I read those words in the Bible was in the story of the Israelite’s exodus out of Egypt. The people came to the Red Sea, turned to see the Egyptian army approaching, and trapped between the two, they cried out in fear.
The scripture reads, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14
But then, one verse later the Lord says, “. . . Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”
These words confused me at the time because they seemed opposite to me. How do you say “be still,” and then tell me to move? My whole life “be still” meant “don’t move”.
Have you ever read the scriptures and just felt confused? Me too, and this was definitely one of those times.
Thankfully the Lord gives to us the Holy Spirit to assist us in the translation of scripture. As it turns out, the real meaning of “be still” in this scripture is not, “don’t move,” but rather, “have peace.” It means calm your emotions, let the raging seas within be stilled, and trust that the Lord is in control.
Though I have never been trapped between an Egyptian army and a great body of water, I have faced battles in life were I felt scared, stuck, and insecure. Often times in these battles I would feel frozen in my fear, afraid to make any movement.
Maybe that is you right now. Are you in a battle in life where you feel stuck? Does it look like you are in a situation and there is no way out? You are not alone, I have been there too. And the Lord gives us a very specific direction in these moments, He says . . . “be still.”
He sweetly whispers into our spirit “be still.” His desire in those moments is to breathe His spirit of peace into our scary place, not just to calm us, but to also show us which way to move!
God will gladly fight our battles for us, but first He wants to see us step out of our fear and move forward in faith. He wants us to trust Him and allow His spirit to help us move on the path He has placed before us.
If you are looking at your situation and you are thinking “but there is no path before me, there is no way”. Remember that God makes a way even when it looks like there is no way. Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I need You. I need You to make a way because it looks like there is no way. I need You to breathe your breath of peace into me and calm my fears and pains. Help me to trust You, and believe that You are greater than my circumstances, and may the winds of Your Spirit make me move forward in faith. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for what You are going to do, and for always being the Way. In your name, Amen.