Be Still…

I’ve been seeing a lot of scripture lately about being still. I’ve been wondering what God is trying to show me in this season and what He means when He tells me to “Be Still.”

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

But, what does that mean? What does it mean to “be still?” When I think of it in the way I define the English words, it means to stop moving, pause, hold. But as I read further into this verse, I learned that the Hebrew word used in this verse literally translates to “let go” or “cease striving.”

This gives a very different context to this verse to me. It doesn’t tell me to “stand still,” but instead it quite literally tells me to “Let go and know that I am God.”

As I am in the middle of preparing for brain surgery, there is nothing more comforting than this. To literally “let go.” To know that God is in control and it’s not about being still because I’m moving too much but more to remind me that nothing I do is going to change the outcome and that God is in control of my life.

That gives me such peace. It reminds me that in the midst of my lack of control and my plans falling apart, God has a bigger plan. That there is more extensive work here and that God is going to manage this, and I quite literally…don’t have to.

There are days when my unbelief gets to me and there are other days where my faith is strong and I love to look at the science that proves God really is who He says He is. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Exodus lately mostly reading over the stories over the Israelites and the “Exodus Route.” God has me here in this section of scripture for a reason lately, likely because He knows I’m struggling to trust despite there are generations of truth in scripture about how He led the Israelites out of Egypt, the same way He will take control of brain cancer for me.

In Exodus 14, the Israelites had just left Egypt after Pharaoh lost his child. God had promised a plague would come in earlier chapters and Moses warned Pharaoh this was coming. Back in Exodus 12, God had taken the firstborn of people and animals. This included Pharaoh’s child. Pharaoh was so distraught (likely angry, too) that he told Moses to leave and take his people with him. Moses wasted no time gathering the Israelites and they fled Egypt. Freedom. Freedom from years of slavery. Can you imagine how happy they were?

But, like us, the Israelites happiness did not last long. We are but a fickle people and when we are not in control and cannot see the path, it is so easy to lose faith.

I’ve had many conversations about faith with people who don’t believe in God. It’s hard to believe in the things we can’t see or touch. So why is it so easy to believe that God has a purpose here? Why is it so easy to believe that God is doing something more significant in my life with this brain tumor? Because I have faith. I have faith that God is at work here. While I struggle with not knowing the end game, I have a feeling God knows me. He knows that if I knew the end game, I might give up or try to barter with Him for a different outcome.

You see, having faith in God – believing He is there – knowing He is with me – is like believing there will be oxygen in the air when I wake up or when I step outside. You can’t see it, but you sure hope it’s there when you walk outside because asphyxiation might not be a nice way to go.

Back to our Israelites. So in chapter 14, Pharaoh realized he messed up. He dismissed the Israelites and sent an army (literally) to get them back. He was so angry that he took 600 of the best chariots along with all of the other chariots of Egypt with officers and chased after them. (Exodus 14:7). It was in Exodus 14:10 that we see the faith drain from the Israelites hearts. Scripture says they were terrified.

Y’all, I can relate. As I face a brain tumor, I am absolutely scared. Honestly, there have been many days I have cried and I’ve stumbled in my own faith. I’ve been through several major surgeries, but never one on the control center of my body. It’s hard to place my life in the hands of a doctor, but when I think about it, it’s God’s hands holding that doctors. That makes faith easier. When I realize the Creator of all life, the one who flooded the Earth, the one who still puts a rainbow in the sky after every single storm is in that operating room, faith is much easier.

I love to see how Exodus 14 unfolds. The Israelites lost their cool with Moses. They turned on him like a pack of wolves in verse 11 and 12 crying out, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!””

Man, can you imagine? You just got your freedom from slavery (or health from brain cancer), only to realize the enemy has hundreds of chariots and an angry army barreling down at you. That must have been an intense scene. It’s easy to see why they got scared and started panicking.

Verse 13, Moses responds. Who knows if he consulted God before he spoke, but his words to the Israelites were, “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.”

Here again, we see the words “Be still.” I learned a long time ago that you have to read around the verse to get the full context of what God is showing you. I found that the next verse was just as important. The Lord responds to Moses in verse 15 with, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”

So many times I have told my children, “Stop complaining. Just get up and do it.” Whether it is homework or chores or simply helping someone else out, my kids have often been the ones crying out to me and my response has been, “move on.” There are days that I wonder if God rolls His eyes at us. How tired He must grow of our complaining and our bickering, moaning and groaning like we are so inconvenienced. We so often want to be told why we are doing something or why we are going through something and just like me with my own children, sometimes it is less about the why and more about letting them get to the finish line, letting them look back and say, “Wow. Now I see why you had me do that.”

As someone who hates sitting still, this was a nice to see in scripture. God is clear here that He isn’t going to stop the army in its tracks in broad daylight in a split second. He wants the Israelites to get up and move. God is capable of removing that brain tumor completely before my next MRI. God is capable of anything. But, I don’t get the feeling that God is going to remove that tumor before the next MRI. I feel deep inside me that God is going to use the next season of my life to share stories like these. To reach people that need to hear something from Him.

Back to Exodus. God tells Moses to raise up his staff and raise his hand out over the sea to divide the waters. As a child, I had this vision of the waters literally parting right then and there, but that’s not what scripture says. Scripture says that an angel and a cloud separated the Israelites and the Egyptian army. Darkness was on one side and light on the other, but this prevented either side from going near the other. Then, God used an east wind and “all that night” God drove the waters back so that a wall of water was on their right and left. (Exodus 14:21)

This feels like my upcoming surgery. It isn’t happening in an instant. Instead, there is darkness (fear, uncertainty) on one side and light on the other with God’s angel in between preventing me from pushing into the darkness while He prepares the water ahead of me in order to part the sea. If God was able to part waters, can He not also take care of brain cancer?

There are so many websites out there dedicated to showing the science behind the red sea being parted. Whether it’s showing the land under the sea, explaining the eastern wind, or even showing pieces of Egyptian chariots in the sea, there are many articles out there dedicated to proving (or in some cases trying to disprove) God’s word.

It’s easy to see God in this for me. Because I believe God uses His Word to open my eyes not only to truth but to the science behind it. This is what makes it easy for me to fully put my trust in Him regarding my brain and upcoming surgery.

I may not know the outcome. I may not know what God has in store for me. But I can assure you that His plan has been carefully laid out for generations before me, each miracle before me building on the one before it until one day, He will come back to earth and take us all home.

God is a promise keeper. And I have faith that if I ask in His Name, He’s going to show up big for me. (John 14:14)

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