Don’t Be Afraid…

“Don’t be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.  The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.  The Lord Himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm.”  Exodus 14:13-14

Before the miracle of the Egyptians being swept away into the Red Sea, God commands them to stay calm and stand still.  I have been extremely observant of noise, media, and technology. I want you to examine how many places insist that you listen to loud music, or want to stimulate you in some way.  On the phone? You’ll wait to music.  In Wa-Wa?  You will boogie down to oldies. Goodness, I just wanted some pumpkin spice coffee at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, not a disco. Finally get out on a date or a lunch with a friend? You will be listening to a variety of music in which you have to talk over the sound to relax with your partner.  I could go on and on with media sources (because I’m guilty of it!) – Twitter, Facebook, Iphone, Pinterest, Tumbler, YouTube…… These are only the big boys.

What is that doing to our bodies and minds?  I read a great article on Lisa Ferentz’ blog.

Perhaps part of the uptick of anxiety and depression is also related to our nervous system being bombarded increasingly from attention-seeking sensory stimulating electronic sources as opposed to the more passive and subtle features of the natural environment. This hyper attention is furthered with the 24/7 receiving of news of traumatic events and images from the four corners of the globe, as if it was in our front yard, keeps our brains constantly bathed in adrenaline and cortisol, the stimulants that ready the nervous system for dangers, real or imagined, in flight-fight- freeze mode.  No wonder it feels like times are so tough though we are living in the lap of relative luxury. (http://www.lisaferentz.com/2012/11/aint-no-cure-for-the-wintertime-blues/)

Moses was in a crisis at the point God spoke to them to 1. Not be afraid 2. Stand still 3. Watch Me 4. Let Me rescue you (emphasis on let, meaning don’t form a committee and figure this one out – I got it.) 5. Stay calm

http://faculty.washington.edu/lhauser/Nemo.html

Be honest.  Do you like it when someone says, “Be still.  Stay calm?”  I recently posted on Facebook about some tasks that were stressful and my aunt posted – “Be calm!”  I actually loved it.  I was going through the day and Aunt Shirley’s two words to me kept coming up in my mind.  I kept thinking I can only do what is before me, and I will be calm and ask God what to do next.  Most of the time though I’m like the clown fish, Marlin, in Finding Nemo, in which his friends tell him to calm down, and  Marlin forcefully tells them, “Don’t tell me to be calm pony boy!”  Marlin was saying that to a seahorse.

Marlin sending his son Nemo to school for the first time: (remember they are fish, so the drop off is a dangerous area for a classroom under the sea)

Bob: Hey, you’re doing pretty well for a first-timer.
Marlin: Well, you can’t hold on to them forever, can you?
Bill: You know I had a tough time when my oldest went out to the drop off.
Marlin: They’ve just got to grow up som – THE DROP OFF? THEY’RE GOING TO THE DROP OFF? WHAT ARE YOU, INSANE? WHY DON’T WE FRY THEM UP NOW AND SERVE THEM WITH CHIPS?
Bob: Hey Marty, calm down.
Marlin: Don’t tell me to be calm, pony boy.
Bob: Pony boy?
Bill: You know for a clownfish, he really isn’t that funny
Ted: Pity

One small scene from a Disney movie has meaning for us. Life can be filled with anxious, upsetting moments constantly. We have opportunity not only to engage in anxious moments that are out of our control, but we are also faced with the unexpected.  God was asking His people to do some pretty hard things.  I don’t think we will ever see on a daily basis what they faced prior to the Red Sea parting, but we do live in a society in which the heartbeat of our existence seems to be one intense event, situation, or happening after another.  People are irritable and angry.  Road rage abounds, folks are tired and restless, and children are over-stimulated and stressed.

My 8-year-old can instantly get in a fuss about a shirt opening of a turtle neck not fitting over her head.  Have you been there?  Their head is larger than the opening of the shirt, and they start to panic and cry and stomp their feet? It’s in us to panic and fuss, stomp our feet, get overwhelmed.  That happened yesterday, and I was in the right frame of mind to model for her all was well, and I gently helped her remove the turtle neck.

Is your situation bigger than the solutions you see before you?

  • First claim:  I will not be afraid
  • Stand still
  • Watch the Lord rescue you today
  • Claim that you will never see that enemy again in your life and the Lord will fight for you
  • Just stay calm

This is far from a passive approach, or laziness.  Right after this command, God called His people to act!  In the waiting, they were practicing the discipline of faith, trust, and WATCHING and REMAINING CALM AND STILL.  To be sure, God will cause us to act and go forth, but how in the world can we know what direction and have His peace about it if we are not watching and waiting (i.e. in His Word, in communion with Him, and claiming that He is in control).

What would happen if you took a day fast from media and contact with the world through electronics?

What would happen if the next time a stressful or crisis event occurred you took the advice of God to be still and calm and watch for Him?

What would happen if we work diligently in the events and tasks that are before us trusting that God will direct our next move —  be calm and watch?

Stand still…..

Watch….

God will give you your next step…

Just stay calm…

3 comments

  1. Anna, This reminds me of one of my very favorite scriptures: Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not! For I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” This word has helped me through some very scary and difficult days. I KNOW THAT I KNOW that my Father has me securely in His care but sometimes in the midst of a storm I need to be reminded.

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  2. My dear Anna, call me old, laid back or just plain blessed but I firmly believe that God has me in the palm of his hand. He saw me before I was born and he has a map for my life, oh I may get off coarse but that is my fault. Stay the coarse God has planned for you but let me remind you that He does not want you,, in His name, to take on more than you can do. I love you. .

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