I stepped onto the deck, into a dense fog. The morning was heavy with mist. I settled into the chair, holding my steaming cup of coffee. Gazing into the woods that were softened by a blanket of white, listening to the birds sweetly singing, and acorns dropping, my heart settles. This is where I feel closest to my Father. The sights, the smells, and the sounds of the outdoors calms me and rights my world.
I open my Bible and begin reading in Exodus, following the story of the Israelites and their escape from Egypt. Several verses in chapter 14 catch my attention. They’ve reached the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his army are closing in fast. The children of Israel are trapped, and fear makes them respond with anger.
“Didn’t we tell you in Egypt? Let us alone; let us serve the Egyptians! For it would have been better for us to serve them than to die in the wilderness.”
Moses’ response? “Fear not; STAND STILL and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. The Egyptians you have seen you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”
I lift my head from the Bible and sip my coffee. I like Moses’ reply. “Stand still and let the Lord fight for you.” In fact, a sweet friend had gifted a small sign with that very verse on it and it now sits on my bookshelf- its beautiful black script reminding me of this promise.
The thin pages of the Word crinkled beneath my fingers as I resumed reading.
“The Lord said to Moses, Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to GO FORWARD.”
The lighting changes around me. Fog still curls, but the birds sing louder. No longer a cool, white morning, the air glows. The sun is coming up, its golden rays warming the scene.
I think of this story and the two direct commands.
Stand still, and go forward.
How do I do both? How do I stand still, yet at the same time move forward?
Stand still- firm, confident, undismayed. Confident in Christ, my gaze and my heart fixed and still before Him.
I can do that. Oh, I’m human and it’s a struggle and certainly not perfect, but this? This I can do.
Move forward in faith, doing the next thing.
This is where I stop. How can I move forward in a time of waiting? How do I have vision in a season- a prolonged season of wait?
It’s like God has hit a pause button and we’re caught here, watching everyone else pass us by while we spin our wheels. It’s been almost three years since this all began. What does God have for us? Will this ever end?
I reflected back to a conversation I had just had with someone. I had opened up and shared my heart, confessing that I felt jealous of others whose dreams were answered, and how I was struggling with vision and fulfillment.
She very calmly answered with a suggestion of something I should do. She had told me this before and I had laughed it off. And this wasn’t the only person to tell me this. I had heard it before, but always thought, I’m not doing that now. Maybe someday.
But this time, I listened. And I came up with all the excuses I could think of and she came back with reasons why they were just excuses and really, I should do this thing.
I couldn’t tell her how excited it made me feel, thinking about it. It tugged at my heart, settling down deep, and scaring me to tears.
It scares me to hope. It scares me to even dream. The past years have been marked by ended dreams and dashed hopes.
Foster parenting? Snatched away.
Life with children? Trampled on.
Mission work? Closed door.
How can I know if this is what God wants me to do? I feel like I grasp at anything that is new, anything that takes me out of the same, the humdrum, the wait. Anything to give purpose to this broken and messed up story. And yet, fear paralyzes me. It steals motivation, making me second guess every decision.
I want what God wants me to do. And so I laid out a fleece before Him. I begged for Him to make it clear- to show me if this is His will or just my want.
And so, I wait, my fleece spread. I battle fear and doubt, constantly bringing them to God, and placing my hope in Him.
I wait, still, before Him. Waiting for the command to move forward, trusting that He will make it clear what I should do.
The sun has burned through the mist, the day muggy and warm. I rose with my empty coffee cup and entered the house, letting the screen door slam shut behind me. There was work to be done.
Go forward. Do the next thing, with your eyes on the Father. Be still, with a heart fixed on Him.