This year I'm reading through an Archeological Study Bible. I know that might sound a little dry, but it's actually fascinating to me. I've learned to love historical facts so reading the way that scripture is supported (or not supported) by archeological findings as well as the details about the ancient cultures is bringing a different insight into my reading.
Right now, I'm reading through Exodus about the Israelites flight from Egypt. And I'm amazed at what an Israelite I am. They grumbled and complained about their circumstances...I do the same. They thought they used to have it better--back when they were enslaved, and they're pretty sure God brought them out the the desert to destroy them. Hmmm, I know I've had similar thoughts. So Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV) says "Moses answered the people, '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. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'" I'm not running from literal Egyptians. But we all face "Egyptians" in our lives; those obstacles, challenges and threats that we feel pursued by each day. And so God is saying in this that he'll be the one to fight for us, that he'll deal with today's obstacles and challenges and threats and we'll never see them again. We may have new ones tomorrow, but then he'll deal with those.
I don't have to fight, I just have to "be still".
So what does it mean to be still? In the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Max comes to the place where the wild things live and they roar terrible roars, gnash terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws until Max says "BE STILL!" and he stares straight into their eyes. And they are all frightened and make him king and they do what he says. Maybe this is a stretch, but at first I thought that I have wild things in my life and through Christ I have the power to tell those wild things to "be still." But in reality, I think I am the wild thing. Things happen in my life, my Egyptians chase me, and I roar and gnash my teeth and roll my eyes and get ready to fight. And then Christ says "BE STILL!"
Those two simple words tell me to stop striving, stop plotting and planning, stop being afraid and angry, and stop fighting. I don't need to do any of that. I just need to follow, without a map or an itinerary. I can follow my king and be at peace with wherever he takes me. Even if it's a small rental condo in Chula Vista. Even if it's a broken body.
God is right here in the middle of my life with me. He will fight for me. He will deliver me. I won't be destroyed.