Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Grip of Fear, Part 1

Oh the fear that freezes, keeping us incapable of action, too timid to take the first step.  The fear the fills our mind with anxious thoughts and worries, cluttering any attempt at clarity of thought and vision.  The fear that builds excuse upon excuse until we forget what we were initially afraid to do.  Oh this fear, I am so well-acquanted with it, far more than I hope or wish.  Are you?  Have you experienced the grip of fear?  If you have, my friend, we are not alone.

Exodus 14:1-31 was the key passage for Day 6 of the She Reads Truth: Fresh Start devotion and it spoke to me profoundly about this concept of fear and it's grip that leaves me immoveable at times.  In this passage, Moses has freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and they are starting their journey.  As they get closer to the sea, Pharaoh's army is quickly approaching behind.  Panic fills my heart and mind just thinking about it.  The Israelites have reached the veritable rock and hard place and immediately they long for the previous bondage.  How often do I do that?  Do we do that?  The fear of the unknown grips us and we long for what we have known before even if it wasn't pleasant at all.  There seems to be comfort in the knowing.  But what does Moses say when they start crying out to him in anguish, in fear?
"Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today you shall never see again.  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still."  Exodus 14:13-14 NRSV
As I read this words of comfort, a command to not be afraid and stand firm, the last phrase caught my attention.  What does it mean to "keep still"?  I looked through several other translations to see if a different word was used and lo and behold, another word for still is silent.  In fact, the New American Standard Version says, "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent." v. 14 and the Message proclaims, "God will fight your battle for you.  And you?  You keep your mouths shut!"  Well, that certainly caused me to pause and think about how much do I "talk over" what God is trying to tell me?  How often do I let worried and anxious thoughts cloud my mind, so that finding time and place for silent reflection is impossible?  How often are my prayers a personal monologue and not a true conversation with the One who knows all things?  The discipline and practice of silence, here it is in Exodus for the Israelites and here it is for us.  No matter what rock and hard place we find ourselves in, we can rest and trust in the knowledge that God is with us each inch of the way, guiding and directing us and in our stillness and in our silence, we sense His guidance more deeply than before.

1 comment:

  1. This post is such a good reminder for me to be still and let God fight for me. I can't imagine being in the Israelites in that moment. Thank you for a heartfelt and thoughtful post!