Stand Still (and play!)

I was holding my little niece Genevieve today while putting dishes in the dishwasher. She was cheerfully watching me work. Her little head turning back and forth as I picked up a dish, rinsed it and put it in the dishwasher. She didn’t want to miss a thing.

At one point I leaned over a bit further than she was comfortable, so she held on to me a little tighter and let out a squeal, a bit concerned that I may drop her. I turned and looked into her big, beautiful eyes and said “Genevieve, I got you. I’m not gonna let you fall.”

Those words came back to mind just as my head was hitting the pillow that night. And I felt the Lord saying to me, “Connie, little Genevieve knows how to stand still and watch me work.”

He’s not gonna let me fall.

Earlier that week, I had been searching the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 – trying to figure out what it looks like to practically stand still and watch God deliver you. This was literally the instruction that the Lord gave King Jehoshaphat when a huge army was about to attack the Israelites:  Stand still and watch God deliver you.  And this verse had been a recurring theme in my devotional readings, and in my conversations with the Lord.

There were so many practical things about which I was asking his counsel over these past few weeks. I felt unsure of what to do with multiple decisions before me. As I inquired of the Lord, I kept hearing this phrase – stand still. Oh boy, I’ve heard that instruction before! But each time requires discernment to know what “standing still” looks like in a given situation.

Standing still is not a passive stance.

In one season of my life, the Lord instructed me to stand still regarding my professional work and it looked like resisting the urge to pursue another more lucrative job offer. It was hard but thanks to the “multitude of counselors” around me, I persevered to obey this instruction. Nearly a year later (it felt like an eternity!), I was promoted. And not only was I promoted but a position was created for me. That position most directly launched me into the place of my calling and the work I’m doing today.

God was moving, opening doors of opportunity, and I was learning to be still and allow him to open those doors. Yet while he did the work of opening the doors, it required me to do the work of walking through them with diligence and perseverance.

Standing still looks different in each season. But it mostly has to do with the posture of restfulness in our hearts.

Trusting God to do what he says he’ll do emboldens us to do what he tells us to do, whether that requires action or inaction.

I don’t have a vast “physical” army coming against me like King Jehoshaphat did, but I sure do have a lot of balls in the air. And I must remain mindful that my struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).

In the midst it all, the Lord wants me and you to know that he is working, and he is holding on to us. As certain as I was that I would not let go of Genevieve, even more so the Lord wants to assure me – He’s not gonna let me fall.

You know, after a while Genevieve got tired of watching me put dishes away and was ready to get down. And do you know what she did?

She walked off and started playing.

She wasn’t worried about whether I’d finish my work. She wasn’t concerned about those dishes. She had moved on to playing with her toys.

Sometimes it’s so hard to do nothing. To just watch God work on your behalf.

Even writing this now, every fiber of my being wants to qualify that statement with – but you have to work hard. Doing nothing is not an option. If you don’t work, you don’t eat! (2 Thess. 3:10)

And those things are also true. But sometimes, if we are willing to listen, God is saying – Do nothing.

Sometimes standing still means just that – positioning yourself to watch him work.

In that passage in 2 Chronicles 20, it says that King Jehoshaphat and the armies of Israel watched from the wilderness as the Lord setup ambushes against their enemies.

They watched God work.

They got in position to see God do what he said he would do, even from their place in the wilderness.

When we are surrounded on all sides. When we don’t know what to do. When we can’t figure out our next move, that is the time to stand still.

Do nothing but seek the Lord and his strength.
Do nothing but seek his face always. (Ps. 105:4)
Do nothing but stand and watch him deliver you. (2 Chron. 20:17)

Each time it feels very hard to do. Each and every time I wiggle and squirm and try to find my own solution. And every single time, God does something miraculous that I had absolutely no hand in.

When I completed my master’s degree in 2009, I was so ready to leave my job and go into the consulting world. Oddly enough I’d discovered while I was in my master’s program, that I actually loved it! I came alive facilitating and navigating complexity to find common ground.

I was ready to move into this new field.

And then I began to sense the Lord telling me it wasn’t time for me to move yet. That made no sense to me. But God continued to go to great lengths to communicate his desire for me to stay put.

I finally listened – but it took over a year of “discontentment” in the waiting.

One day I walked into my office and my boss asked to speak with me. He told me they’d created a position with me in mind.

Do I bring to the moment of delivery and not give birth says the Lord? (Is. 66:9)

I can’t imagine the Lord really wants me to be like Genevieve and just watch him while I hang on, and while I play.

But perhaps that’s exactly what he wants.

Standing still – holding on to him for dear life. And then rejoicing, and playing! Not concerned about the work that is left to be done because he has it all under control.

May our heavenly Father fill us afresh with childlike trust to simply stand and watch…and play.

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