Yesterday, I wrote about what it is to not have to shout any more, to be able to accept (and live in) the quiet contentment with which God has blessed me and the powerful energy in that. There is freedom.
Were it to stop at shouting, that would be gift enough. But there is more to quiet contentment that further humbles me. It is this - that just as I do not have to shout any longer, neither do I have to fight.
That's revolutionary. We grow up thinking, being taught, that if we want something in this world, we have to go out and grab it. We have to take it by force. We have to be more powerful, more fierce, stronger than anything that would come to oppose us. We believe that we have to prove ourselves, to come out on top, to dominate in order to achieve or to succeed.
That's just not the case.
God's Word tells us - as He promises - that the Lord will fight for us. That's half a sentence, but it's the half we hold onto hardest. We look around our battlefields, bloodied and dripping with sweat, to find our Savior. Is He not there fighting alongside us? Oh...we get it. He's going to make a dramatic entrance; come riding in on a white horse and slaughter them all. Yes, that must be it. Because in the heat of the battle, we're looking around, our sword in our hand, and thinking of these words: God promised to fight for us. So where are You, Lord?
It's easy to neglect the second half of that promise, the contingency, if you will. The Lord will fight for us...if only we are still.
We're rarely still. We don't like to feel that vulnerable. There's something about stillness that makes us feel weak. We aren't really thinking about it; it's just the assumption. If we were weak in the middle of the bloodshed, then God would have to swoop down and rescue us like a damsel in distress. And nobody wants to be a damsel. (Ok, there are a few who might. I've met some of them. I'm not impressed.)
We want to have some power. We want to have some place. We want to have some skin in our own fight, and we mistakenly believe that to be still is to be oblivious or worse. We think to be still means to just stop. Stand there. Wait. Do nothing. Say nothing. Be nothing.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Stillness, by God's definition, is not idleness. Stillness is a confident surrender. It is the willingness to stand in the battle and to take an honest inventory of what is at stake. Is it Kingdom-worthy? Or is it world glory? Is it the voice of God that has called us to fight? Or the voices of our culture, our worry, our insecurities? Stillness says that in this moment, even while it seems there ought to be a fight, I choose to listen to the battlecry that matters. The only voice shouting that deserves to be heard. That we give up selfish pursuit and commit ourselves fully to the work, the passion, the battle God has put in us.
I've spent a great deal of time fighting battles that I thought I had to win. Battles of reputation, of justification, of presence, of identity. The list goes on. I'd elaborate, but I'm sure you've fought them to. What I've found in stillness, when I take in that whisper that frees me from shouting and frees me from fighting, is that it is there - just as He promised - that God fights for me.
Yesterday, I was reading David's song of victory and deliverance in 2 Samuel. How the God of the Universe fought for Him when He could not (or refrained from) fighting for himself. How the lightning and the thunder and the winds and the power of creation stood behind him, fighting for him, and answering him. He had surrendered himself to God, confidently knowing that he hadn't the power to change one thing. It wasn't within him.
But it is within God. And when we stand and surrender, knowing God will fight for us, we find that we have nothing to fight for. He answers our heart, all the questions we were asking. He justifies us in our doubts - about ourselves, about our world. He shows us how His power is able to reconcile what we're standing for with a world that seemingly seeks to destroy it.
The truth is - God will fight for us; we don't have to fight any more when we embrace holy stillness. Not idleness, but stillness. But the deeper truth is this - in that stillness, we realize there's nothing really to fight for. We have already been heard. We have already been justified. We have been defended, honored, proven, and accepted. We have been gifted, blessed, and absolutely cherished.
What is there to fight for? What can this battle possibly give us that God has not already shed His own blood for?
What battles are you fighting? Where do you feel like giving up would be a mistake...and what if it wasn't? What if your surrender is an invitation to grace, to the very answer you've been looking for? And what if your power is not in your force but in your confident surrender to a God who will fight for you...if only you are still?