In The Ring
by Sue Tell
“The LORD will fight for you; you have only to be still”
My husband sometimes watches college wrestling on TV. He enjoys it. He understands it. He wrestled in high school and college. I rarely watch with him. I don’t understand it and I don’t enjoy it. That’s sometimes how I feel about life. It’s like a wrestling match or a fight. There are so many “hards” swirling around me. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t understand it. I want to be out of the ring, but life persists and I find my friends and myself in the midst of the fight.
Several years ago I memorized Exodus 14:14 (above). I don’t remember the circumstances at the time that would cause the truth of that scripture to stand out. However, recently I found myself remembering that verse again. Then that very same scripture was used in a testimony I heard during a worship service later that day. Hmmmmm. I returned to Exodus 14 to remind myself of the story.
Pharaoh, Moses, and the Israelites
Pharaoh had released the Israelites from slavery and Moses had led them through the wilderness to the edge of the Red Sea. Then Pharaoh changed his mind and came after the Israelites with the entire Egyptian army. The scriptures record three responses from the Israelites.
They were totally afraid ~ understandable.
They cried out in terror to God ~ a prayer of desperation.
They complained to Moses ~ so human.
Moses had three responses for the Israelites.
Don’t be afraid.
Watch what God will do.
Scripture summarizes this for us:
“The Lord will fight for you; you have only to be still.”
Be still, the key.
I began pondering, what does it look like to be still? To me it seems that stillness and quietness can be synonyms. I Peter 3:4, tells me that a quiet spirit in God’s sight is precious. When I’m in the middle of the ring, quietness is not often how you would define my spirit. Yet, that is God’s desire. I’m learning how to get there.
The journey to stillness.
I need to remember God’s faithfulness to me in the past. He rescued me from the ring before and I trust he will do it again.
“… In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.”
I need to recall God’s love for me. It hasn’t changed.
“… He will quiet you by his love …”
I must be living out my righteousness with a praying lifestyle.
“… and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever”.
For me, journaling is an important key. By recording the words of God with thanksgiving, I am encouraged. God was faithful; he will continue to be faithful.
“Be still and know that I am God …”
I must resist complaining. Complaining gives an unhealthy permission to justify my reality.
“A fool gives full vent … a wise (wo)man quietly holds it back.”
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I need to be still and trust God is with me in the burning fiery furnaces of my life.
“But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him …”
Daniel 3:25, 28
“And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to my Glory on display …”
Exodus 14:4, 17 The Message.
I love that God uses the same words before and after the verse in Exodus 14:14. Being still and allowing God to fight puts His Glory on display!
Father, in the midst of the hard realities of our lives, please help us to remember Your presence, Your love, and Your faithfulness. Help us to be willing to be still. Amen
Sue Tell and her husband Bill have been married for almost 46 years and have served on the staff of The Navigators for 46 years as well. Although their official roles have changed over the years, the campus ministry has always been a part. Sue writes a weekly faith-based blog, Echoes of Grace, that you can find at suetell.com. (Echoes of Grace is "on leave" for the months of July and August for some website updates but will return September 6.) Sue also enjoys facilitating Sabbath-Living retreats to help women grow in their friendship with God. Bill and Sue have two married sons, five grands, and her favorite walking buddy, a Golden Retriever named Lexie.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview “Adultery: Forgiveness and Redemption" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Adultery. Infidelity. Betrayal. No one wants to hear those words or experience such devastation. Some who have felt its power say it is the worst pain one human being can inflict on another because it is the epitome of rejection by someone who should love you. Here you will hear a betrayed wife whose husband did not repent share her pathway to forgiveness and redemption.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.