In what moments or circumstances is it most difficult for you to be silent?
Perhaps you see an injustice that is being unaddressed.
Maybe your reputation or livelihood is being incorrectly questioned.
Someone might be speaking ill of something you hold dearly to be true.
Or it could be in a situation where you simply know more.
In a world that is more verbal than ever, we are surrounded by opinions and facts hidden behind every click and scroll. We carry the world’s information in our pocket, alongside the views that others hold staunchly to with little restrictions on how, when, or why those opinions are shared.
I’m wondering if, along the way, we’re losing the art of silence.
More importantly, I’m worried that we are losing the discipline of being silent before our God.
The book of Exodus gives us some of the most demonstrative manifestations of God’s power for His people. Following the harrowing plagues in Egypt and the exodus of God’s people from the tyranny of Pharaoh, the Israelites faced what seems to be an impossible irony: Literally sitting between their oppressors and their longsaught freedom was the magnificent Red Sea.
What a tease that would have felt like, right? Or some sort of cruel joke.
Here they stand: God’s people, a chosen nation, set apart and protected, having followed (fairly) well His plan set out for them, even under the restraints of imprisonment. They survived exactly 430 years of undeserved chains and misguided punishment, and finally freedom is given!
Then, this.
In that moment, by any reasonable human standard, the Israelites had every right to be upset.
They had been captured and unfairly treated for generations.
God’s miraculous recovery of their freedom was darkened by human injustice and power seeking.
Their earthly right to a decent livelihood was stolen out of spite and biased restitution.
In this moment, we could justify their anger. Their discouragement. Even, their fear. And everything within us wants to plead for them, “How could it be?”
Here is where we would hoist our banners, make our speech, pick up our weapons of words and work, and let it be known that our enemy is undeserving. Everything in us wants to defend, to fight, to make right in our own way.
And yet, look what God asks of them:
And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord. which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’” (Exodus 14:13-14, ESV)
God did not ask them to move. He asked them to stand firm upon the place that He had set their feet. In between freedom and the enemy, with the waves of the Red Sea splashing at their feet.
God did not ask them to act. He asked them to remove fear from their hearts and hold confidence in the faithfulness of their God who was always at work for them, for today would be no different.
He asked them to be silent. The fight was in His rightful hands, not in their human ability to rebuttal, uphold, demand, or insight justice of the moment.
The fight would be won only in their complete removal of self.
In their absolute surrender to their circumstances, then God would prevail.
Silence can look many different ways because our battles are unique. Maybe for you, silence looks like…
  • Praying for and encouraging your colleague who seems to bring animosity wherever she goes.
  • Bringing coffee to your child’s first-year teacher who’s struggling, instead of sending an email to the Principal.
  • Holding your tongue in an argument with your spouse, even if you’re in the right.
  • Surrendering your current work situation to God instead of overanalyzing your next step.

In what moments or circumstances is it most difficult for you to be silent? Name them, and then: be still, surrender, and be silent. Everything in the world around you will tell you to grow louder, be more active, and harness more control. And yet, in God’s upside down Kingdom, He wishes the exact opposite for you.

Are your silence-breaking desires getting in the way of full surrender?

Lay them down, sister.  You have every reason to hold confidently to the God who opens seas.