We live in a culture that is very transient. Things are constantly moving and changing. Just look at the recent NBA free agency and you’ll see players moving from one team to another very rapidly. We as humans like change when we can be in control of the change. We like the idea of the “greener” pasture. We hate feeling stuck or life growing dull or stale. So whenever we feel stuck, stale, we move. We change our surroundings. We add a hobby, etc. Jesus though calls us at times as Christians to a counter cultural stance. To Stand Still. To stand still where we are and know that we can trust God that He is working and moving us forward even in our stillness and dullness.
I am in this season of standing still, and it’s been tough. It’s been tough because it’s not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. A few years back, I was in vocational ministry, leading a youth group, and even was given an opportunity to take a full time youth ministry position with great pay and benefits. Now three years later, I’m still single, I’m no longer in vocational ministry, and I work in a call center doing college admissions. To put it bluntly, this is not where I thought I would be.
Even though this is not where I thought I would be at in this season, this time has been important. This time has allowed me to rest, to reflect, to grow, and to uncover deep seeded roots to struggles I have had in my life for a long time. In this time, I’ve been able to form a deeper relationship with my brother, get plugged into good godly places of community and support, form incredible friendships, and begin to let go of many things that have weighed me down for so long. I have been given such clarity in this season.
As I woke up this morning, the Lord brought this phrase to my mind. “Stand Still.” Now, you may view standing still as pretty passive, but it is actually a very active step. Standing still takes faith. It takes faith to stand still in the dullness, in the loneliness, in the mundane, in the routine, and believe that even in the standing still that God is working in and around your life to move you forward.
I’m reminded of the example of Moses, who stood still, seemingly trapped between the quickly approaching Egyptians, and the Red Sea, with the recently released Israelite’s complaining and cowering behind him. He responded in Exodus 14:13-14: “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.”
Standing still at this moment defied logic. Death awaited them on either side, but Moses trusted God and stood still believing that God would make a way to save His people. And He did. He parted the Red Sea, as the Israelite’s passed over on dry ground, while the Egyptian Army was swallowed up by the Sea as it closed behind them. God provided.
I’m reminded of the faith of Steven, who while being stoned, lifted his eyes to heaven and endured til the end. Daniel, who was thrust into the lion’s den, for being faithful to his God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into a blazing hot furnace for refusing to worship false gods. Paul, who after the earthquake that shook his chains free, stayed put and didn’t leave the prison. Esther, who went before the king unwarranted, to petition of behalf of her people. Abraham, who was asked to wait on the birth of his son, and the fulfillment of the promise God had made to him. And Ultimately, Jesus, who hung on a cross, innocent, standing still, was beaten, mocked, spit upon, and died, to pay the price for our sins, that we might be free from our sins and be able to enter into a relationship with the Father.
These are our examples of followers of Christ who stood still even in the midst of trying times. They stood still because they trusted God to show up, and He did. Constantly.
Just like these Bible characters, there will be times as Christians when we will be asked to stand still. We will be asked to stay in a job that greatly under utilizes our talents, to stand still in our singleness, to stand still in our disappointments, our losses, our hurts, and our confusions. It will be in this time that we will be asked by God “Do you trust me enough to just stand still and wait on me to show up?” It is here, in this place, where we are solely dependent on God, where we learn both to endure, to rest, and to trust that God fights for us, even as we have nothing in us that is able to fight.It is in this time of standing still where the Lord shores us up, teaches us who He is, and shows us what is really important. We go deeper with Him.
While standing still may carry with it the connotation of passivity, we still have purpose. We have purpose to be faithful where we are at. In our homes. In our jobs. God has placed us where we are at for a reason in this season. We have purpose to use our gifts, and our talents that God has given us for His good, and to further His Kingdom wherever we are.
We will also need others in this time of standing still. Others that will come alongside us and stand with us, holding our arms up, as we grow tired. Reminding us. Giving us perspective. Encouraging us with the words of God. Reminding us of the example of Christ as our suffering Servant, and the saints who have the run the race faithfully before us. Pushing us forward.
Standing still isn’t forever. It’s a season, and a difficult one at that. We can take advantage of it though while we’re here, learning to trust God fully, to lean on Him, to cry out to Him, and to trust Him that He will fight for us. We can be faithful to serve God where we are, asking Him to grow us in being content. He will teach us to stand still if we will ask Him.
I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you’re in a frustrating season of life, where confusion and chaos reign, and you just feel stuck. Be encouraged. Know that God fights for you, if you would only be still. If you would be still, if I would be still, God would show up, and we would be filled.
Picture taken from: https://www.gotquestions.org/be-still-and-know-that-I-am-God.html