Remember those fire drills we went through in elementary school? They taught us how to exit buildings and also what to do if our clothes caught fire. There were 3 simple steps: Stop, Drop and Roll. As fun as these steps were to say or practice, they served one purpose – to put out the fire. In life, when we run into problems, we often do everything we can to fix it or make our situation better. We often rely on our own abilities to try and put out the fires in our life as quickly as possible. More often than not, our problems or fires don’t extinguish all that easily and sometimes can get worse the more we try to fix it.
Like we learned in elementary school during fire drills, the first step to putting out a fire is to STOP. As soon we run into a problem, we immediately want to take matters into our own hands and fix the problem. We often forget to STOP and BE STILL. In the book of Esther, when the Jewish people were faced with the threat of death, Mordecai asked Queen Esther to approach the king for help on her people’s behalf. Instead of hastily approaching the king or showing outright dismissal to the call, she decided to be still – she asked all the Jews to join her as she fasted for three days and nights (Esther 4:16). Despite her royal title, she knew there were obstacles she would have to face if she were to approach the king on her own charge – and the consequence could be death. In a great time of need, she decided to be still and rest in God.
Unlike Esther, in 1 Samuel, King Saul was told by Samuel to wait for him before offering a sacrifice to God while they were fighting the Philistines. Instead of waiting for Samuel, Saul offered the sacrifice heedlessly – in a time when King Saul needed to be still and wait on God, he decided to act and attempt to fix his own circumstances. Saul believed that what he was doing was righteous before God, but he did not obey God’s command. This led to the kingdom being removed from him and his family. When confronted with life challenges, we often decide whimsically instead of waiting on the Lord. Samuel would go on to say, obedience to God is better than your sacrifices to Him (I Samuel 15:22).
When I run into problems, the fires of life, I often do everything I possibly can to fix it. And in the midst of that, I forget to surrender it all to God. In our greatest time of need, we rely on ourselves alone and forget the awesome God we serve. Ps. 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” God asks us to stop fighting our battles alone and to acknowledge Him and be in awe of who He is.
To be still, is not a call to an absent-minded rest but to wait on God to intervene. This is not an easy feat, to let go of control. But God wants us to trust Him and to turn to Him when we are plagued by the circumstances of life and wait for God to act on our behalf. During this time of waiting, we are not to ignore the problem but stay still in amazement of what he has done in the past and is yet to do. For His promise is sure, He will fight for you (Ex. 14:14).