I have my Dad to thank for some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Growing up he taught me you could never be too picky about boys or cars (and that Ford’s were out of the question!) He told me to find a man who loves his mom, and that “you are only in trouble if you get caught” the night he spotted me out of the corner of his eye, piling hoards of toilet paper and silly string into my car all while making empty promises that I was “NOT going t-peeing!”
But one day his light-hearted encouragement changed to a different tune.
I remember the night he sat across from me in a dimly lit restaurant. He knew full well what was going on in my life at the time, but had invited me out that night because he wanted to hear it from me!
My words were almost apologetic, though there was nothing I could take back even if I wanted to. I was just a girl whose life in no way resembled the dreams I imagine my father had hoped for me all those years ago…
And for that I felt like a failure.
He listened intently, nodding in affirmation as I shared about the unfavorable hand life had dealt me, while not saying much in return. Yet the few words he did speak were ones I will never forget…
After ‘surveying the damage’ he asked poignantly, “So what if it gets WORSE?!”
I was taken aback by his callousness.
…Worse?!? I struggled to grasp where he was going with this, and wondered whether he knew that his attempt at encouragement was terribly backfiring.
I stumbled over my words as I searched for the right response to his seemingly cold-hearted question. “Well, I mean… I guess I’d just have to trust God then wouldn’t I?” I said sarcastically as if to dismiss his absurdity.
“Do you trust Him now?”
“Of course Dad!” I snapped defensively, dropping my fork with a clank, not caring who around me heard.
“If you trust Him, then why are you still talking about it?”
As a side note: oftentimes I question the validity of reality shows due to the fact that, “Who in their right mind would sob and scream in the middle of a restaurant?!?” But then I am always reminded of what occurred next…
The tears flowed freely…the wild bubbling of the lobster tank next to us couldn’t mask the heightening tone in my voice… the ‘ugly tears’ flowed causing my mascara to send trails down my cheeks… and I was forced to turn away and fidget with the salt shaker every time the waitress came by to refill our drinks, only to return to my Sob-Fest once she had left…
My Dad would go on to explain his position and remind me how much he loved me. He even hugged me tightly on our way out, though I stubbornly arched my back in resistance!
He acknowledged that he had made me
mad furious… And he was right!
He was right about how infuriated I was – and whether I liked it or not at the time – he was right about the fact that if I indeed trusted God as much as I said I did, I wouldn’t feel the need to stew in my problems hopelessly!
It’s a tough pill to swallow but he’s right.
If we truly trusted God we’d stop talking about the hopelessness of our situation…
If we trusted God we’d confide more in Him and less in Google. And we would certainly dwell less on the statistics that are, or are not, in our favor…
If we trusted Him we wouldn’t insist on bringing our petition to Him frantically, over and over, as if He didn’t hear us the first time, the second time, the third time…well – who are we kidding? The BAZILLIONTH time!
There is an Italian saying, “Il bel far niente,” which means, “the beauty of doing nothing” and for years that has been my faith mantra every time my panic takes over and I attempt to do things in my own strength! (Though whether I chant it over and over while rocking back and forth in fetal position, is none of your business! 😉
This mantra reminds me to stop talking, stop controlling, stop manipulating the situation to work in my favor, and stop excusing my lack of faith under the guise that I am ‘weighing my options’…
It helps me remember that while I can say the right prayer over and over, have the best intentions, and hide behind the most eloquent blog post, that I can still lack a tremendous amount of faith! And that oftentimes the strongest test of faith is one where God asks you to do absolutely nothing!
In the Bible the Israelites were asked to do the same thing in a moment of complete desperation…
“…Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today…. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.“ – Exodus 14:13
God’s only requirement was that they stand still and watch His deliverance unfold!
In Psalm 46:10 again it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (and in Krista’s Expanded Version – with added emphasis and a healthy dose of God-given attitude – it says, ‘put down the peanut butter, set aside the wine, get your butt off google, and FOR THE LOVE STOP TALKING ABOUT IT and know that He is God!’)
You see, last week we prayed for God to open our eyes…and whether or not we choose to believe it, He heard us. The first time!
He also wanted me to extend the message that He is eternally grateful for all the times we’ve felt the need to
repeat …er, ‘better clarify’ our prayers to Him in our attempt at helping Him get it right, but that going forward, He only needs us to ‘stand still and remain calm.’
So together let’s lean into the uncertainty of the future, take a deep breath, and wait for the Lord to rescue us today.
And not a thing more!
…though if it takes us rocking back and forth in fetal position, I won’t judge! 🙂