“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
Exodus 14:14 has become for me one of the most quoted verses in the past year. I have been inserting my name in this verse quite a bit: “The LORD will fight for you, [Izabella]; you need only to be still.”
You see, I do not do “still” very well. I prefer being busy and doing something about my circumstances rather than just waiting and being still.
The stillness and waiting-room posture of a worldwide pandemic became quite a challenge for me last year as my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was an ocean away in Romania, and I literally had no choice but to be “still” … but that did not mean the Lord was not at work.
There have been many times in my life when I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord was fighting on my behalf. The hard times I would not have asked for were the times that taught me most about God’s character, and I slowly learned how to trust Him with the unexpected.
I did not ask for religious persecution in communist Romania while hiding a Bible in the floorboard of our tiny apartment. I did not ask for never-ending lines to get bread to eat or items to meet my family's basic needs. I did not ask for mental illness to rock our family to the core.
But unexpectedly, I experienced God’s supernatural protection while attending an underground church and received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift that demonstrated God's intimate love for me for the first time. I experienced miraculous provisions through the kindness of God’s people. I also experienced the protection of my mind and heart through the deep valleys of my mom’s paranoid schizophrenia.
I discovered along the way that God was not surprised by my circumstances; He knew and loved me deeply. God never once stopped fighting for me as a child in Romania. And He has not stopped fighting for me as an adult who, like the Israelites in Exodus, encounters my own “Red Sea” moments. What might have been unexpected for me was already part of His plan.
In reading Exodus, I learned some good lessons from the Israelites. They were facing unexpected circumstances, and God had a big plan in place for it all. God had rescued the Israelites from 400 years of captivity, and Pharaoh’s hardened heart had finally softened. Although Pharaoh’s change of heart was short-lived, God still fought for the Israelites even as the Egyptian army pursued them.
The Israelites, who were spiritually and emotionally weak, stood staring into the Red Sea with no choice but to wait for God to act. Moses told the Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV). Then God parted the Red Sea.
Can you imagine? Standing still and keeping silent with an army behind you and a sea before you? Then can you imagine the unfolding of God’s plan that followed as they watched the Red Sea part before them?
The God we serve can do that! He has promised to fight for us just as He fought for His people at the Red Sea, just as He fought for my heart through the Bible in the floorboards of my home, and the shoebox gift packed just for me. The challenges we face are important opportunities for our faith to grow. What might be a huge roadblock or heartache to us is still redeemable in the unfolding of His plan.
Be encouraged and find rest in the promise of His Word that He loves and cares for each one of us. And today, trust Him with the unexpected.
Heavenly Father, thank You for fighting on our behalf in every battle we face. You are never surprised by our circumstances. Help us to trust You and the unfolding of Your plans daily. Help us to stand still and recognize You in every battle. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox was a defining moment in Izabella McMillon’s life as she began to see the Lord fighting for her. Through the gift she received, Izabella understood how deep and personal the Father’s love was for her. Consider packing a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child and sharing God’s love with children around the world. Learn how to pack here!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
Take Exodus 14:14 and insert your name in it: “The LORD will fight for you, [name]; you need only to be still.”
Are there areas in your life where you feel like you’re up against the Red Sea? Take time to thank God for His faithfulness. In what ways do you see God fighting for you?
How can you trust God while experiencing unexpected circumstances? Let us know in the comments!
© 2021 by Izabella McMillon. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Operation Christmas Child for their support of the She Speaks Conference and Encouragement for Today devotions.
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