How do you hold your peace at a time like this?
When Mike and I relocated to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains some 18 months ago, we named our new home Peace Ridge. The name is not only descriptive, capturing the tranquility of the long-range view, but also prescriptive.
We want our home to be a place of peace and refuge for family and friends, strangers and sojourners, the weary and the wounded.
Like many properties in the mountains, ours has a small stream running down the slope. It bubbles up on one side of our driveway and disappears underground only to emerge again closer to the pond. I’m delighted with our tranquil water feature as long as it behaves. But when heavy rains cause it to flood or the lawn tractor veers too close and has to be towed out things get messy.
Just like me.
I prefer my life to flow along tidily, all cares conveniently out of sight. But they’re never out of mind. At inconvenient times they flood to the surface and overflow their neatly managed little banks. I joke about being a Frequent Crier and scoring points for future travel, but there’s nothing funny about dealing with anxiety. Again.
Thankfully God’s people know something about that.
When the ancient Israelites were fleeing the Egyptians in the account of the exodus, they panicked when they saw Pharaoh’s armies closing in. As they cried out to the Lord, Moses reminded them: “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.”
Another translation puts it this way: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14, NKJV)
Holding your peace. Isn’t that just for wedding ceremonies, as in “Speak now or forever…” ? Are we simply to keep silent, not speak unless spoken to, just shut up already and let God handle it? Or could this promise point to something deeper?
The other day I was feeling super anxious (deep breath, true confession) over the upcoming release of my first book. After spending three years gestating This Life We Share, this literary birth will take place at what humanly speaking is the worst possible time when stores are closed and deliveries uncertain. But how dare I feel sad when everyone I know is going through a difficult time right now, with far greater concerns than a book baby?
Do you have moments like this too when your little stream of contentment dives underground only to rage to the surface and rearrange the banks of your carefully constructed life?
When my fears boiled to the surface I texted my cousin Jan, one of the women who labored in prayer with me over the book. I call them my spiritual midwives.
Jan called immediately from Texas, prayed fervently and led me through a lengthy time of intercession and release. As she concluded our impromptu prayer meeting, Jan reminded me of the promise that became my deliverance in a time of crisis decades ago.
“Maggie, here is the Word of God for you again today: ‘I will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
What if God’s words to the Israelites delivered through Moses are his word to you today as they have been to me?
Rather than remaining mute or impotent in the face of life events flooding out of control, what if we take God at his Word instead and hold our peace?
We hold it by recognizing that the One who created the world also created us with unique capabilities. If he has called us to a task, he will enable us to complete it. (I Thessalonians 5:24)
We hold it by acknowledging that the Prince of Peace is actively present in our lives. When he is in residence we don’t need to offer hospitality to unwelcome guests like fear, anxiety and inadequacy. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
We hold it by accepting that God has shared many of his attributes with us but omniscience is not one of them.
If you are doing the best you can with what you know to do, rest in his peace, friend.
God holds the future, and because of his presence you can hold your peace.
- Adapted from This Life We Share by Maggie Wallem Rowe. Copyright © 2020. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Pre-order here: https://www.navpress.com/p/this-life-we-share/9781641580076. Ask Maggie for a special advance Promotional Code.