Stillness in the Midst of the Battle

Good morning, sweet readers! I am currently sipping on a cup of hot coffee in Starbucks across from the most handsome man in all the land (none other than my Trice!), and it dawned on me. I am totally THAT person. The Starbucks is freezing, so I had no choice but to grab my son's cowboy blanket out of the car and wrap it around me while I write. It's complete with a cowboy hat hood and some tassels, so I am fitting right in here in Texas ;) But seriously. I am officially THAT mom. I drive a minivan, listen to more kid music than non-kid music and use my son's blanket in public. Five years ago I would have totally judged me. But today, I am loving it. I am loving right where I am at. I love that my kids have helped me to be a little more undignified and care a little less about propriety and the opinions of others. I love how free and confident my kids are, and I am learning to live a little more freely and confidently as well. So thank you Emerson and Etta Jayne for making me be THAT MOM! :)

We just got back from a 4 day vacation in the woods with Trice's side of the family. We had a great time! My favorite part was living "hands free" and unplugging from technology and distractions. I even had to learn how to actually use my "real" camera since I didn't use my phone on the trip. 

On the first morning, I sat down on the porch swing (my favorite thing ever) and fully expected to open my Bible and dive in deep, when God gently nudged me to read the verse on the cover of my journal:

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."

"Okay, Lord? So what's your point?" was my next question. I have read this verse a thousand times before. And then He asked the question, "Do you know the context of that verse?"

Well no. I didn't really know the context. In my mind, when I think of this verse, I think about being at a day spa, getting a good massage, breathing in some nice aromatherapy and having the day to myself. Or being in the woods, sitting on a porch swing, breathing in the outside air and not having a care in the world. In my mind, that is a picture of peace, rest and stillness.

But when I opened my Bible to read the rest of the chapter, I was surprised at what I read:

"So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge... The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God's voice thunders, and the earth melts.. Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how He brings destruction upon the world........ Be still, and know that I am God."

Earthquakes? Destruction? Chaos? Not exactly the day spa I was thinking of. In fact, this Psalm was written in correlation with the events of 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. Here, the Israelites are about to be attacked by their enemies. Lots of enemies actually. King Jehoshaphat begs the Lord for guidance, and the Lord instructs him to march out against the enemies. "But you will not even need to fight," says the Lord. "Stand still and watch the Lord's victory," He instructs them. Then it says in verse 22, "At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves."  When the army of Judah arrived on the scene, "all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see." The story goes on to say that, "Not a single one of the enemy had escaped." And then to take it a step further, the Israelites got such a vast amount of plunder from their dead enemies that it took three whole days to collect it all! They even named the place the "Valley of Blessing." The story ends in 2 Chronicles with this: "So Jehoshaphat's kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him REST on every side."

God's timing is impeccable. We started our vacation right after getting a little bit of bad news, and my normal tendency is to stress out or try to fix things on my own. Here I was, in my "peaceful place" on a porch swing in the woods, but but my mind was going crazy. I could have been at a spa, and I still would not have been in a place of stillness. But God so gently encouraged me with His Word and gave me more mental rest than I have had in years. You see, being a Christian does not shelter you from bad things happening around you. But as a Christian, God PROMISES to give you peace even in the midst of the battle.

Being still has nothing to do with your circumstances. You don't have to wait until the battle is won to be still and rest in His peace. In fact, God wants us to BE STILL in the midst of the battle. He wants us to rest in His peace when we get a bad report from the doctor. He wants us to trust Him when we get an unexpected financial burden. He wants us to be still when the world is crumbling around us. When there are ISIS threats. When the stock market crashes. When our kids are sick. When we wreck our car. When we are surrounded by enemies on every side. Being still is not about having the perfect environment and atmosphere, but it's a condition of the heart. It's a state of mind. And you can be still and know that He is God right now, right in the midst of the battle. 

That is how Peter was resting peacefully in chains right after James was killed in Acts 12.

That is how Paul and Silas were singing praises after being beaten with wooden rods and put in the inner dungeons in Acts 16.

That is how David "lay down and slept" in Psalm 3 even when his own son led a coup against him.

God not only promises to fight for you, but He takes it a step further. Not only does He destroy your enemies, but He then takes the very thing that was meant to destroy you and turns it into a way to bless you. Let me say that again. 

God takes the very thing that was meant to destroy you and turns it into a way to bless you. 

Just like he turned the battleground into the Valley of Blessing, so God wants to do the same thing for us today. Y'all, this is GOOD STUFF. THIS is what it means to live victoriously as a Christian. God will fight for us, we need only to be still. God wants to give us REST on every side, just like he did with King Jehoshaphat.

A final thing that is interesting to note is that 2 Chronicles is very clear that at the very moment the Israelites began to give praise to God, He started destroying their enemies. Could it be that our most powerful weapon we have is actually our surrender? That our submission and trust in the Lord is actually what brings the most destruction to the Enemy? That the praises on our lips are more effective at tearing down walls than any battle plan or strategy we could come up with on our own? 

So the next time you get some bad news, be still and KNOW that He is God. You can experience the same serenity that you get at the spa even in the midst of an earthquake. And instead of using your mouth to complain about your circumstances, use your lips to praise the God that fights for you and takes care of you.

Love, Sarah

How about you? Have you gotten some bad news recently? Are you at a place of stillness or a place of inner turmoil? BE STILL and REST today, knowing that the Lord is fighting for you!