Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meeting with God In the Waiting Place (PrayerLife)

Green Lake, Wisconsin
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Exodus 14:10-12

The Moses who is about to respond to the fearful response of the Israelites is a different from who he was at the beginning of his journey. Ruth Haley Barton writes: 

"This is the moment where we begin to see more clearly the relationship between Moses’ journey into solitude and his effectiveness as a spiritual leader. Because of his encounters with God, Moses is now a fundamentally different person." (Barton, Ruth Haley, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 95).  

In the face of serious danger Moses gives a deeply spiritual response. He is not going to be strengthened by getting caught up in the people's fears and complaints. Barton writes:

"Instead he turns inward, to that place where he has learned to seek God, and from that place he delivers this most counterintuitive message. He says, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still” (Exodus 14:13-14, emphasis added)." (Ib., p. 96)

Here in Moses we see the fruit of God-encounters during periods of extended heart-stillness in the presence of God. "Moses’ effectiveness in this moment had to do with the fact that even though he was fully aware of the people’s emotion, he was even more attuned to the reality of God’s presence. He knew that the first thing he needed to do was to help the people still themselves and learn to wait on God even in the face of their greatest fear." (Ib.)

I will pray in stillness before the Lord. I will train my soul in the fortress of silence and solitude. I meet with God in the Waiting Place.