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My hand was on the bathroom stall door handle, ready to open it, when I heard familiar voices.
I stopped and stood perfectly still.
The Sunday worship service was about to start, and two women from the church were standing at the sink. They thought they were alone, so they were talking about our pastor while washing their hands.
Their comments about him were small and mean. Each woman took turns criticizing the pastor’s sermon, his tie, and even his hair. I was so angry I could barely breathe.
That pastor? He was my dad.
I hid inside the stall until I heard them leave. I was so hurt and enraged. I wished I could forget what I had just heard, but I couldn’t. I joined the two sister saints in the sanctuary and listened to them sing with the choir—you know, songs about Jesus? His love and grace? Ugh.
To this day, I wish I’d had the nerve to swing that door wide open and, with a big toothy grin, give a big cheery, “Hey there!” Then they would have felt as miserable as I was feeling but for altogether different reasons. Trust me, their hands were not the only things needing washing that day. If my no-nonsense mama had been there, two somebodies would have had their mouths washed out with soap!
Girl, that happened when I was in the eighth grade, and I still remember it. I remember my fury and how I just wanted to bust out of that stall, ready to fight.
We’ve all had situations in our lives when we just want to fight back, right? When someone is unkind or unfair or mean toward us, it’s hard to just stand there and take it.
But, instead of fighting back, we have another option. You and I can learn to stand still and watch God fight for us. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
This is what Moses told the Israelites to do when they were standing at the edge of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was on their heels, ready to destroy them, and the deep, uncrossable sea was right in front of them. They were stuck. I imagine there were some in that crowd paralyzed with fright and others who were itching to fight.
When we find ourselves in hurtful situations, it isn’t our instinct to just stand there. But, sometimes, like the Israelites, we don’t have a good choice except just to stand there and wait. And, it turns out to be our best choice because it really isn’t our fight anyway.
The battle that was supposedly between the fleeing Israelites and the angry Egyptians wasn’t actually between them at all. The Israelites were God’s people and this was His fight. You are God’s child and the battles you face are His battles.
So, on this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I talk about how you can let God fight your battles for you. We unpack what it means to stand still. Plus, we will give you three scriptures to help you stand still when you want to fight back.
Why You Can Stand Still When You Want to Fight Back
- The armor will protect you. This is from Ephesians 6:13. “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
- God’s working and He’s not done yet. This is based on Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
- God is holding you up and won’t let you fall. This is from Jude 1:24. “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…”
When we stand still, we get out of God’s way so He can take care of us and the situation. Now, this is not to be mistaken for doormat theology! No, you should not just lay down and let everybody and every situation stomp on you. I am not recommending complete passivity. But I am suggesting that you and I can be slow to anger, turn the other cheek, and trust that “victory rests with the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).
I don’t know what would have happened If I had busted out of that bathroom stall like a righteous teenage ninja quoting Scripture about gossip and kindness to those women. And, I have no idea what would have resulted from me quietly leaving the bathroom while they watched me wipe away tears. Perhaps It would have been a full-blown revival of repentance right there and then. Or maybe not one thing at all would have changed.
But what I do know is that every battle I face is not mine. My battles are the Lord’s. And, He fights for me in the way and timing He chooses.
If you’ve got a battle, then you’ve got a choice.
You can either stand still and trust that God will fight for you, or you can freak out and possibly make it worse. Sometimes we just need to get out of the way, under God’s will, and watch Him bring victory.
So, remember, whatever battles you face and however you feel, you can stand still through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
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How do you plan to stand still this week?