When Do We Stand Still? When Do We Take Action?

When Do We Stand Still? When Do We Take Action? - Grace Fox

Two different orders. One said, “Stand still.” The other said, “Get moving.” Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? How do we know when to do what?

The Israelites panicked when they saw Pharaoh’s army approach. Before them lay the Red Sea. Behind them galloped the Egyptians. Certain death no matter what. They cried out to Moses saying it would be better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness.

Their leader responded with these words:

“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).

God says otherwise

Moses had barely completed his sentence when God said something different:

“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving. Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites” (Exodus 14:15-17).

Two different orders. One said, “Stand still.” The other said, “Get moving.” Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it?

I’ve experienced this conundrum

I’ve faced that contradiction and had to choose between the two options many times. Here are three personal examples:

  • In dealing with difficult interpersonal relationships, I sometimes wonder whether I should speak up or shut up. Is it better to get moving – to encourage someone to display more mature behavior – or to stand still – be silent and trust God to change an attitude?
  • As missionaries living on faith support, should my husband and I actively seek donors for our support team, or should we be quiet and trust the Holy Spirit to communicate our financial needs to others?
  • If we sense God uprooting us from our present location or job, should we wait until He reveals the next step to us or start looking for whatever the next step might be?

You could add many other examples to the list, I’m sure. Every situation is different. Sometimes we must be still, and sometimes we need to take action.

How do we know when to do what?

By staying in tune with the Lord. Day by day, practicing His presence. Moment by moment, conversing with Him and trusting Him to teach us what we should do. Doing so helps us train us to recognize His voice.

How about you?

Any thoughts? What examples can you add to my list?

Know you are loved,

Grace

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