Pursuing Stillness in the Storm
Over the past few months, the world has been dealing with a health crisis: the Coronavirus. It has reached many countries, and people are in a panic about what can be done to stop or slow the spread of the virus. Anybody reading this post will already know the details of what’s going on with this quickly-changing situation, so I won’t use this blog to rehash the information. After all, we have been pummeled with near-constant details about it. But what I want to discuss in this post is something that God has been telling me during this storm. I can’t act as though I have it all together and that I feel no fear. Fear still comes knocking on my door, particularly at night or early mornings. But how do I respond? With faith, obedience, and intentionality. And that is how you should react also.
The Control Factor
Many of us are used to the feeling of being in control. We may have our finances in control. We may have regular checkups and think we have our health under control. We may have a perfect job with an excellent salary and benefits, so we feel we have our careers under control.
And then, this happens. Coronavirus comes and steals every bit of control we thought we had. Some of us got sick with the virus, despite having good health and taking precautions. We may even know of someone who died from the illness without there being an underlying condition. Some of us were laid off from our jobs and now have bills that we can no longer pay. And this is when the fear sets in. We begin to toss and turn. We feel afraid and worried, unsure of what the future will bring. This is when fear, worry, anxiety, and depression can grab ahold and not let go.
Quite naturally, we try to fight it. We try to do everything humanly possible to resolve the situation. In all of our effort to remedy the situation, we question, “Where is God?” He is right here with us. And He is asking us to turn to Him during this crisis. This battle, this fight against the Coronavirus, belongs to the LORD. Your fight against anxiety and fear belongs to the LORD. But we must stand still and let Him fight for us.
God has been saying many things to me during this time, but concerning being still and quiet:
- Being quiet/being still means to:
- Let things be—let go of control.
- Cease striving.
- Stop fighting.
The following scriptures are so helpful in understanding the concept of being still: 2 Chronicles 20:5-19, Exodus 14:13-14, and Psalm 46:10-11.
2 Chronicles 20:5-19
In this chapter, the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came to fight against King Jehoshaphat, who became frightened and sought the LORD. He prayed a heartfelt prayer, asking for God’s help. The Israelites were afraid and outnumbered, and they did not know what to do. They decided to look to God (2 Chronicles 20:12).
God answered and told them not to be afraid or discouraged. The battle was not theirs. It was the LORD’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). But it gets even more beautiful in 2 Chronicles 20:17 when the LORD says:
You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourself, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out and face them, for the LORD is with you.
God told them to stand still. To see what the LORD was going to do. To not try to do everything in their strength. To face their enemies with the presence of the LORD. Concerning the Coronavirus, we must do the same. We should pray and seek God like never before, and stand still. We mustn’t become overwhelmed with worry. We will see the LORD’s salvation.
When the Egyptians were in hot pursuit of the Israelites after they had fled, fear and anxiety crept in. They began to cry out to the LORD for help after seeing the Egyptians closing in on them. They also began to criticize Moses and accuse him of bringing them out to the wilderness just to let them to die. The panic had officially set in. Exodus 14:13-14 says:
But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the LORD’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you must be quiet.
Once again, the LORD is indicated here as being our fighter. We just need to stand firm and be quiet. We have to let him fight for us!
This Psalm is about God being our refuge in times of trouble. He is always there for us and tells us not to be afraid. Verses 10-11 say:
“Stop your fighting, and know that
I am God,
exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth.”
The LORD of Armies is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
We must stop fighting in our own strength. God doesn’t need our power; He needs our obedience. We can’t do it all on our own and therefore, must depend on God and know that He is with us. He is the LORD of Armies.
Being still and quiet has proven to be difficult for me. I don’t mean that in just a physical manner. I mean spiritually and mentally. My mind can be very noisy at times, moving from one thing to the next. My mind automatically goes into problem-solving mode. But God is asking for obedience and stillness during this time. Anxiety thrives in a noisy environment. If your mind is noisy, then fear has the perfect soil to grow. But once you quiet your mind, you give God the room and space He deserves in your thoughts. Read the Bible, pray, and worship God. Renew your mind.
I am still learning every day. I haven’t mastered the art of being still. But I will remember what God told me in those moments when panic arise. I will also not forget what God has said to so many people throughout the history of humanity. We have to be obedient and intentional in seeking quietness, stillness, and peace while the world is in chaos.