TITLE: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
By Arway Sayeh-Swepson
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Have you ever been in a state of uncertainty; a difficult situation and it seemed almost impossible to be still and trust in God; to completely surrender everything to God and let him deal with the situation?
You certainly have. As a matter of fact, we all have. No one is exempt from difficulties. Confronting difficulties is typical because we live on a fallen earth, with Satan roaming about endlessly seeking whom he may devour, deceive, destroy, abuse or use.
As Christians, how do we tackle difficult circumstances? (1) We should call on God at the slightest sign of trouble. (2) We should wait patiently for his response and give him the chance to work things out for us.
What we should not do: (1) We should not give him up to twenty-four or forty-eight hours to deliver. (2) We should not become anxious and begin to explore other means that (we think) might satisfy our requests.
Our God is patient. We should also be patient (especially with him). Let me ask you this: Have you ever responded immediately to a call from God? For instance,when God wanted you to forgive that person who hurt you terribly, or to share your faith with that hoodlum down the street, did you do that right away? You probably did it in your own time. I'm sure that the hand of God did not strike you because you did not respond immediately? Oh, am I glad that God is not of the human race.
Even though God said that we should make our requests known to him, he did not guarantee us any speedy service such as, “same day delivery” or a “drive through”. Of course he is capable of providing such services but he only does that at his discretion.
It is all about trusting and waiting on God--being still. It is a natural attribute of human beings (especially without the knowledge of God), to feel apprehensive during difficult times. Particularly when your situation seems to grow worse no matter what you do or how hard you pray. Nevertheless, we must learn to be still.
As the period of your difficult circumstances lengthens without positive changes, it turns into a storm and then it becomes even more unbearable. When your mind is tortured by the circumstances, you become restless and you just can’t be still. Depression, withdrawal, hypertension, insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety, etc., are all side-effects of a storm and when they begin to manifest, it means that you are not being still. You are allowing the storm to toss you from side to side and consequently, you will go under.
KNOW WHO YOUR GOD IS
Being still when the storm is raging is never an easy matter. Take for instance, the Israelites, they thought that they had left Pharaoh’s army in Egypt. But to their shocking reality, from a distance, they saw Pharaoh’s army in pursuit of them. They were positioned between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea with no where to run and no where to hide; out in the open.
Of course they were not still. Just imagine the kind of fear that engulfed them and the consequences that followed: panic, hypertension, heart attack, fainting, screaming, chaos, and so forth. Yet, Moses told them to be still and see the salvation of the Lord.
In spite of their constant doubt, God revealed himself in an astonishing way. He parted the Red Sea and destroyed Pharaoh’s entire army simultaneously. What can I say? He’s Awesome! He’s a patient and merciful God too. No doubt he is the one true God!
There were others who stood very still despite the deadly threat of a storm. They stood still because they knew their God. They boasted about their God’s faithfulness.
Could you endure the threat of being thrown in a fiery furnace or being thrown into a den of lions without having a heart attack? Well, Shedrach, Michak and Abednego did not quiver at the threat of being cremated alive. Neither did Daniel. He stood still too when he was told that he would be the main course on the menu for the lions that day.
Did you hear them cry out? Did they try to compromise or devise a “plan B” if somehow God did not deliver them? The answer is no! They knew their God well. In other words, they could put their heads on the chopping block for their God.
Why don’t you learn to know God well too? Perhaps, right now you are facing the Red Sea or a fiery furnace or maybe a lion’s den with nowhere to run to, as your situation takes a turn for the worst. Don’t panic. Demonstrate that you, like Daniel and the others, know your God. Be still and see the salvation of the Lord; permit God to deliver you too.
RELAX & PRAISE GOD
Whenever we approach God with a problem, we should believe that he is quite capable of fixing it all by himself—for he has never lost a battle. He is God! By the way, did God need your assistance when he formed you in your mother’s womb? Was it your prayers from her womb that granted her safe delivery? You had no clue as to what was going on. You did not even know if you were a boy or a girl then. Then all of a sudden, because you have acquired some knowledge, and can now spell “cat”, you want to be demanding and tell God how and when to answer your prayers.
When you have prayed and prayed about a situation, what is the next step? Relax! Yes, chill! We must remember this, that the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s. While we are relaxing and waiting on God to do his part, the next step is to praise God. Praise him continuously; with or without victory, praise him.
Praise is very important. God inhabits the praises of his people. Sometimes you just have to stop the constant reiteration of your prayers. That’s nagging. God has already heard you. Jesus affirmed it in the Bible, “the heavenly father knows the things you have need of before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).
What he wants to hear now is praise. At least provide God some kind of motivation. The constant repetition of your requests without a word of praise exhibits doubt. It is similar to harassing someone about a favor over and over after they had told you repeatedly to trust them.
During one of my many trials, one night while I was praying, I remember repeating my requests to God over and over without a word of praise. Then as soon as I changed from repeating my requests to praising God, I heard a voice. It was very clear. I believe it was the Holy Spirit and it said “now you are praying”.
FROM YOUR TRIAL
Instead of constantly nagging God about your request, why don’t you inquire from him what lessons you could learn from your present conflict? Search yourself to find out if you in anyway contributed to your problem or what the contributing factors that led to it are. If by some means you contributed to your problem, then ask God for forgiveness and learn from your mistakes. Get wiser. This will strengthen your defense against future attacks of the devil. You must at least gain something positive from your trial. Don’t let the devil become the sole winner, because if he does, then eventually you will become his stairs and he will step all over you anytime he wants to.
AVOID NEGATIVE INFLUENCE
We all know that it is agonizing to be still when a terrible storm is raging in one’s life. It is like a thorn in the flesh. Excruciating indeed! As hard as you try to be still, yet your flesh wrestles with you for trying. The old human side becomes very restless and vulnerable to any solution.
Considering your vulnerability, don’t go searching for an easy and faster way out of your storm by looking for someone or something to help you fix or forget about the problem. Don’t go searching for just anyone to talk to either.
Talking about the situation is good therapy but be careful with whom you talk to. Some people a are bad influence for your situation. They will make you anxious, impatient and angry. They will confuse you and make things worse for you. Some of them will come up with all sorts of advice and suggestions comparing your situation with theirs and others—"If I were you, I would do this and that or don’t do this; do that". Eventually, they will turn your situation into a headline for gossip. As long as their advice is not godly, don’t listen to them. Just be still.
They will feel offended and perhaps call you a fool because of your refusal to take their advice. Let them. It is obvious that they lack spiritual wisdom and will never understand how or why you are bearing up to the circumstances the way you do.
There will be questions like: Why aren’t you fighting back? Why are you ignoring their advice? Why are you so still? Listen! As long as they do not share your spiritual perception, stay away from such people. Do not be influenced by them. They do not share your vision. They see green and you see red, simple. The Bible asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Your faith is in God and God alone, so be still.
In addition, do not hesitate to let them know why you are so still. Tell them why. Tell them that your faith is in the almighty God alone. Let them know that the battle is not yours, neither theirs but the Lord’s, and he has never lost a battle.
While you are trying to be still, offer God praises, maintain your contact with God and remain in good standing with him. Go to church and bible study as usual and seek sincere Godly counseling. Keep your mouth shut, except in prayers. Stay away from the phone and people with bad news. Don’t entertain conflicting thoughts, which often lead to fear and doubt.
UTILIZE THE GIFT OF DISCERNMENT
Hold on to your vision as you anticipate God’s intervention. Exercise caution as you seek Godly counseling as well. Remember “not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Beware! There are some weak and confused Christians, who will just mislead you. As soon as the devil roars or manifests his power, they jump to a hasty conclusion that it is God’s will for this to happen or maybe God wants to shut that door in your life for a purpose and blah, blah, blah”. This is nothing but a pathetic doctrine taught by a pathetic “chicken in the Lord”. By the way, will you take advice from a chicken?!!
Because of your perseverance, it is obvious that you are an “Eagle in the Lord” and if you are an eagle, don’t hang with chickens. Chickens can’t fly.
It is a fact that sometimes God closes certain doors in our lives for a purpose but it is not always the case. Sometimes it is obviously the work of the devil. This is the time to apply the gift of discernment and don’t consider all sorts of speculation.
DON’T TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS
As your misery drags on, and your storm has now turned into a hurricane, you will want to take action and speed things up to calm your storm. Sometimes, you even want to go to the extent of taking matters into your own hands by snatching your request from God, to handle on your own, in your own way and in your own time. This is certainly not a smart move at all. It will definitely yield disastrous consequences; you will probably end up with a category five hurricane, and your state will be worst than before. Just be still and pray without ceasing until you see what only God has promised.
THE SUN WILL COME UP AGAIN
“After you have done everything to stand, stand”. No condition is permanent. You will face tomorrow. No matter what the intensity or the duration of your storm is, it shall surely come to an end. As the saying goes, “the darkest hour is at the break of dawn”.
Therefore, child of God, cry no more. There will be joy in the morning. The sun will come up again. You will be able to see clearly. You will see the rainbow again. Remember it takes a lot of rain to see a rainbow. After you have stood still and acquired knowledge from your trials, then you will begin to realize what the storm was all about. You will learn the meaning of your tears. Whatever the outcome is, you will realize that God was in it after all; making “all things work together for your good”.
Remember that the battle is not yours; it is the Lord’s. “For it is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord”.
Our God is a faithful God! Rest in him and be still!
Arway Sayeh-Swepson - 2005
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