Get Up and Do It – But Be Still!

A waterfall along the Turkey Path in Colton State Park, Pennsylvania
A waterfall along the Turkey Path in Colton State Park, Pennsylvania

I love the verses in the Bible about resting in the Lord.  As someone who likes to keep busy (but not too busy!) it’s a reason to sit down for five minutes and just enjoy the Now of life.  It’s also a reminder that I don’t have to make this work for myself: The Lord will fight for me (Deuteronomy 3:22) and He is the one who provides for me even while I’m sleeping (Psalm 127:2).

Setting up a "bunkbed" over the seats in a van
Setting up a “bunkbed” over the seats in a van

But recently, there has been an idea circulated that we don’t have to do much when it comes to the promises of the Lord – we just need to hold tight, sit still, and rest and the Lord will bring His word to pass.  There is some truth to this; we definitely do not want to make the word of the Lord come to be in our own strength – Abraham got himself and the generations to come into serious trouble doing just that when he had Ishmael.  And there are Bible verses about being still, the most famous of which may be Exodus 14:14.

Climbing Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana
Climbing Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

The problem is that many times, with His Word, the Lord is inviting us into a process with Him, not putting forth an inevitability that will happen regardless.  If we refuse to do anything with Him, or even just run away from it, then it may very well not come to pass the way that God said it would.

Trail to Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Trail to Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

I know, that’s a harsh way of putting it – God’s promises are “yes” and we speak the “amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20).  He promises that it will come to pass.  But God has chosen to allow us free will.  And that means that it’s at least partially our choice whether we walk with God or wreck our lives not walking with Him/not walking as closely as we should.

Ruined walls at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico
Ruined walls at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico

When God tells us something or gives us a promise and we do nothing with it, it’s sort of like saying, “I’m going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon” and then never training for it, never reading about how to do it, never getting maps, and never going to Grand Canyon National Park, let alone hiking to the bottom.  It just doesn’t happen unless you get up off of the couch and pursue what you’ve said you’ll do.

Hiking down into the Grand Canyon on the South Kaibab Trail, Arizona
Hiking down into the Grand Canyon on the South Kaibab Trail, Arizona

On the other hand, saying, “I’m going to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon” and then trying to do it without preparation, without knowledge, and at the wrong time of year will probably end in disaster.  God invites us into His promises so that He can work them through us at the right time, with the right preparation, and with the wisdom only He can provide.

Hiking down the Lava Falls Route toward the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Hiking down the Lava Falls Route toward the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

It takes some discernment to know when to rest and/or stand still and when to go for it.  But I believe that in this season the Lord is calling many of His children to get up and start doing things toward what He has said will happen – the things that He has promised them.  This can look like praying into it or physically doing something toward it.

Jumping waves in the Great Salt Lake, Utah
Jumping waves in the Great Salt Lake, Utah

You can’t go into the wild places without effort, but you can go into them with peace.  We need to learn how to rest while getting up and running with God – into the things He has promised us and so much more.