This favorite verse of mine was made more powerful as I recalled Pastor’s encouragement to rest so that we can see God provide, so that we don’t rely on ourselves, and so that we don’t worry. He stressed that rest for the Christian—this “being still” on the Sabbath or in our personal quiet times with God—settles our soul in “God’s sufficiency and His ownership of it all.”
We’re not simply supposed to slow down. We are told to stop.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3
Created in God’s image and cleansed by His Son’s death, we Christians follow God’s example. He rested to show us how to rest: a complete cessation of our work so that we have time and energy to refocus our hearts on the One who satisfies our souls. The ability to truly rest shows that we are sincerely trusting in God’s faithfulness and ability to keep the world running while we’re not “helping.”
These meditations from Pastor’s sermon, Genesis 2, and Psalm 46 were still floating around in my mind—a soothing balm to my heart—when I read a devotional pulling from Exodus 14—Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Exodus 14:15
I realize this command was given to the children of Israel when they were caught between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea, but those two words, “go forward,” became so sticky in my brain that they refused to disentangle themselves from the peaceful “be still” melody still playing in my soul.
“Be still” and “go forward” are two very different commands. And yet, they are both given to God’s people. Obviously, they do not cancel each other out.
There is a time to be still.
There is a time to go forward.
What struck me in that sticky moment of truth was that I am much more comfortable in following the one than I am the other.
As a cloud of dust rose up from Pharaoh’s chariots and the mighty waters of the sea parted under Moses’ outstretched staff, it wasn’t the time for Israel to sit down and meditate on God’s character. That moment was a time for action—an act of obedience in following God’s command and trust in God’s ability to bring them safely across the Red Sea.
Being still draws me into a safe communion with my loving Father, but going forward to do His will can terrify me sometimes. So many excuses and fears pass through my mind when I feel the Spirit leading me to take what I know of God and use it in my day-to-day life:
These are the moments in my life where it is no longer time to be still. Obedience to God’s will for my life demands that I then go forward. It’s okay that I’m not comfortable. It’s more than okay, because God’s strength will shine all the brighter through my weak, trembling attempts.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
Do you struggle with going forward? Maybe your strengths are different than mine. Do you jump into action and struggle to be still?
Just as God has His strong arms around me when I am taking baby steps forward, His Spirit is there to bring rest, peace, and renewal to your soul. He can teach you how to be still and know that He is God.
All we have to do is obey. He will take it from there.
Being still or going forward—where are your strengths and weaknesses?
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