I read a story about a surfer who was in the ocean for 32 hours after he was swept out to sea over 13 miles. He was discovered hanging onto his board. He was hypothermic but he did not lose consciousness. Experts said if he had not been wearing a wetsuit he probably would not have survived. The experts discussed various circumstances which hindered the search for him and made the situation difficult.
Though he survived I’m certain there were points when he was out there all alone where his mind began to wonder. I can only imagine the fears of never seeing your family, worrying about death and how it will happen, and the inner turmoil of hope. This hope of being rescued probably was tested every few minutes. Regardless, I know for sure there was nothing further he could do for his circumstance. He could only do so much. At some point he was at the mercy of outside forces and nothing else. It was at that point anyone could clearly recognize the miracle.
We have all been in a similar situation though not literally. We have felt despair and hopeless for any significant breakthrough. When all you have is what you are clinging to. What do you do then?
In Exodus 14, the Israelites were kind of camped by the sea wondering back and forth. Pharaoh realized this was a great opportunity to recapture them and overtake them. He sent out an army to round the people up. The Israelites saw the army of Egyptians coming after them. In that moment they hit a wall. There was nothing they could do for themselves. They cried out to God. Moses cried out telling them to stand firm and trust the Lord would fight the battle for them.
God then asked Moses why he was crying out to God, they needed to head for the sea. He told Moses to raise his staff and they would go through on dry ground. I can only imagine the fear and hope these people had while their hearts were just pounding. While they were standing still God moved and parted the waters. They has been acclaimed as one of the greatest miracles of all time. Scientists for years have tried to explain away the way God showed up that day.
Verse 13 appears very profound because Moses told them not to fear and to stand still so they could witness the miracle. I wonder how many times God has told us to stand still so we can watch him work. He clearly has commanded people to stand still frequently. The Israelites were told to stand still in Numbers 9. It wasn’t just for the Israelites. 1 Samuel 12 has a command to stand still and watch God work.
Standing still is the point when we receive instruction like in 2 Samuel 18 when David commands a servant to stand still waiting for more information. This profound act amplifies what God is trying to tell us. Sometimes we can’t advance until we acknowledge there is no hope in our flesh. Job was commanded to stand still in chapter 37 after all of his morning and just before his breakthrough. Proverbs 12 tells us the wicked will be overthrown but the righteous will stand.
When the disciples prayed for a man in Acts 14 they told him to stand, he instead leaped up and walked. 1 Thessalonians 3 tells us to stand firm in the Lord. Ephesians 6 instructs us to prepare for battle utilizing the armor of God and to stand our ground so we can be in right standing with God. James 4 tells us to resist the devil or stand against him and he will flee from us. He can’t get us when God has us in a miraculous place of protection.
Think of your fears, trials and stresses. Some worries when you look back weren't worth worrying about in the first place. Sometimes when there is nothing else you can do remember that is the time to just stand. God prepares your movement but you have to be standing still to receive the instruction. Before God moves mightily he needs your full attention. And that always comes after a call to stand. Just as King David instructed his subordinates centuries ago, our military uses the same fashion to instruct troops today. There is supernatural significance in standing.
Psalm 37 tells us a good man’s steps are established by God and God is delighted to do so. It worked for Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Paul and it works for you. God isn’t finished with you. He has a plan. Your life is full of purpose and the hard times are the places to slow down and stand. So stand still for instruction. Stand still for a clear path. Stand and behold the hand of the lord as He works. Only after standing can you walk and have guided steps.
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Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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