Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 21, 2020

your standing-still strength

When was the last time you were not inside a church for six weeks?  When was the last time you were not in a restaurant for five weeks? Has there ever been a time when your hands were so clean? Has there ever been a time when a sneeze caused you to jump for cover? I ask those questions with a bit of “that’s me” wrapped in them. Even the pets are growing weary!

Certainly, we would all agree that what we’ve experienced during the last six weeks is the dictionary definition of an unusual circumstance. What is the definition of a circumstance?  Why, thank you for asking. Turning Points magazine (by David Jeremiah) answered that for me recently.

“The English term circumstances comes from the Latin term having to do with ‘encircling or surrounding something’ … Circumstances then, are the situations encircling our lives. Sometimes they entangle us like a live electric line.”

Do you feel encircled, a bit caged in, hoping for release but wondering how and when it will come?  Candidly, I must capture and recapture my daily moments, or the circumstances of this season begin to squeeze and entangle me.

But there is something foreboding to the squeezing and entangling (circumstances). Years ago, the Lord prompted me with words of wisdom I have never forgotten. “Don’t let all that surrounds you invade you.” You and I must not kid ourselves into believing that our circumstances only surround us. Without any intentional effort, they can also invade. Today, the global circumstance (COVID-19), entangled with our personal journey (life’s issues) are threatening to invade us with the force of an impending army.  Make no mistake, the battle is upon us, but the circumstances do not have to invade us.

I was reminded in my reading this morning of another time of dire circumstances. The children of Israel were at the Red Sea with the Egyptian army ready to pounce. They were in a moment quite similar to ours. There was no denying, avoiding or controlling the circumstance, and Moses gave the strangest counsel.

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Exodus 14:13-14 (NLT)

We all know the story, but what does it have to do with COVID-19 (I even hate the name)? Could it be that the ancient counsel will be meaningful for us today? Our strategy shouldn’t be fighting the battle emotionally, getting more frustrated with each passing day (although this is a struggle for many, I’d assume). Could it be that a form of standing still and trusting God’s rescue would work? Absolutely, but how?!

Standing still in this moment and not letting the circumstances invade us is tough, no doubt. But for me (and I trust, you also), accepting and internalizing the promises of God will help steady the Corona nerves. For today, take the verses below and accept them for this moment. Internalize them as your standing-still strength.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

It takes deliberate intention to turn every moment of worry into one of prayer. Let the unfailing and unchanging Word of God bring stillness to your today.

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