Day 88 –
It’s pretty ironic how my goal this year is to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life. By 11 a.m. this morning I had done so many things, yet felt unproductive. This is the battle I fight. I can clean the house for hours and still feel unproductive because it just gets dirty again. In CoVid-19 season I am being forced to figure out why my hurry.
I am grateful to have a job. I know it will still be there tomorrow. While I am learning to be quiet, still and unhurried, I am keenly aware of all of you single parents attempting to work and to be at home with little ones, and the workers of deemed unessential jobs who are without a whole income or who have permanently lost your jobs because of CoVid-19. For this, I am so humbled and I am so sorry. The elimination of hurry probably means so much more right now.
I may not being walking in your shoes in my own situation, but may I offer a little of God’s Word for us today? I know what it is to fear and to be anxious about the unknown. I have spent seasons of my life unsure where the next tank of gas, or even gallon, will come from. I have striven to make enough to pay my bills and to have enough left over to eat. I have had to trust God with my health and with the ability to get up each morning. I have gone through seasons of wanting life to end and looking for God to remember me.
God’s Word, I believe, is for the here and now. I am also aware that in moments of grief the phrase “God is not surprised by this” does not always help. So instead, let’s look at Exodus 14.
God has just called his people out of Egypt through the leadership of Moses. They had abundant gifts from their Egyptian neighbors and friends, good sandals on their feet, and provisions on their backs. They left Egypt with joy. They had barely travelled a day before they reached the Red Sea. They had witnessed miracles from heaven descend upon their freedom story. Immediately and collectively, they found themselves in the first hardship of their new life.
The Israelites, having reached the Red Sea and being pursued by their old government and ruler, started questioning what God was thinking. They had left their homes and their comfort. It was easy when it was joyful and it was equally as easy to forget how captive they had been, even one day before.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, ‘Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’ ” Exodus 14:10-12 (Message)
Put CoVid-19 in wherever you feel it applies for you. Put your job, your fears, or your bitterness towards whomever or whatever into the passage. “As illness approached, the people of God looked up and saw them—CoVid-19! Coming at them! They were totally afraid.”
“As the boss approached them, I looked and saw them—cut backs! Coming at me. I was totally afraid.”
“As the news approached them, I looked up and saw them —restrictions, orders, declarations! Coming at me. I was totally afraid.”
I get it. We all have fear about something. Being told what to do. Being ill. Loosing a loved one. Being isolated, depressed, or cut off. I can’t make it one full day at home without wanting to loose my mind. God is not afraid of our fear. God is not afraid of my instability of mind. I am not too much for him. You are not too much for him.
“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. The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.’ ” Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV)
God showed up for the Israelites. He brought them up out of captivity. He brought them into freedom for his glory. Being free to enjoy God did not mean being free from hard things. God showed them this after just one day. God does not always give us rest before taking us to the next giant.
Because of who God is, look at what he does say. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord. The Lord will fight for you, just be still.” Exodus 14:14 (my paraphrase)
Again, put your fears in place of the word “Egyptians”. For me, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The isolation, restrictions, loneliness and uncertainty you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.”
When I started writing this blog today I was on my front porch in the sun, escaping my children. l had to find some stillness so I could relinquish my fears to the God who fights for us. In your stillness, your fears and your elimination of hurry, how can God fight for you? What do you need to ask for? Yes, someone may seem to have it worse than you do in this, but I believe God is for each one of us.. What do you need today? What do you long for today? Ask God to fight for you in those needs and desires.
The Israelites were in it together. They all experienced freedom. They all left with joy. They all needed protection immediately. They all had fear. They all had to be still so they could see the deliverance of the Lord. As we are socially distanced from each other, let’s keep remembering we don’t have to do this alone. We can all ask God to fight for us. We can all learn to be still together, even at a distance. How can you ask your community to stand with you? How can you be there to stand for those in your community?
May you find blessing in your community and in our God this week. May we be in this stillness together!