Friday, April 7, 2017

Free From What If's

I've always been a thinker. A dreamer. A planner. And, unfortunately, a worrier. There are days, and often many nights, that my mind just doesn't want to turn off and slow down. These are the times that pondering isn't always a good thing.

This blog post is really for me because I'm sure none of you ever deal with that. You just pray and give it to God and leave it there. You never start thinking "but what if this happens? What if that happens? How about this God?" Or my favorite..."don't you think you should fix it like this God? And by this date?"

The Lord keeps reminding through His Word that He has it all under control and He doesn't need me with my list of "what if's" to help Him out. In fact, over and over in Scripture, He tells me that I am to stand still, trust Him, and that He will fight my battle.

This week as I was reading about the Israelites preparing to cross the Red Sea, two little words jumped off the page at me. "Be silent." What? Me? Be silent? Don't say anything?? Ha! Anyone who knows me, knows I talk. A lot. And the word "silent" would never be used to describe me!!  However, plain as day, God spoke to my heart when I read these verses in Exodus 14.

"And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

Oh my!! Surely I misread that. Nope. It says all I have to do is "be silent". Wait. "Of all things Lord, be silent?" "Yes, Gayle, be silent." Hmmm. Ok. I guess I can keep my mouth closed. I memorized a Psalm many years to help with that. Remember I'm the girl who likes to talk. A lot. "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" ‭‭Psalm 141:3‬

What the Lord is really teaching me though, is that it's much more than just keeping my mouth silent. It's keeping my thoughts silent as well. That's where the beginning of that passage in Exodus spoke to my heart. "Fear not."  Be brave.  I'm a strong, independent kind of girl and I don't like to admit that sometimes I'm fearful and not very bold.  Finances. Health. My kids and grandkids. The future. Home repairs. Sometimes, all of those thoughts run through my mind all at once and it's like they are competing in a marathon in there...or at least bumper cars!!

But God. I think He knew the Israelites...and I...would need to hear these words. "Be silent." The passage summed up for me is this:  1.  don't fear  2.  stand still  3.  watch God  4.  be quiet

This next dialogue is for me, but you can read it if you like. Why be afraid when God is always in control and He is always faithful? Stand firm. Don't waver. No doubting. Then, watch God. He will always take care of the situation. Remember? He's the faithful One. Oh yeah, don't silent. Not just your mouth, Gayle, but your mind and heart too.

The story in Exodus goes on to tell us not only did the Israelites cross the Red Sea, but they did so on dry ground, and none of them were defeated by the enemy. All they had to do was "be silent". 

"Father, please help me to be quiet. To be brave and bold. To trust you. To not fear. And then to turn off my mind full of 'what if's' and be silent as I watch you." Amen.

(Editor's note:  This study was influenced by an Illustrated Faith devotional entitled "Free to Flourish".)

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