The other day I was
fighting with, err…I mean, talking to one of my kids. The conversation was a little rough. This child of mine is still hurt. Still angry that there is no longer a dad in our house.
This, along with the normal everyday teenage angst, has more than once caused a rift in our relationship and discontent in our home. I suppose all of that is normal in this situation but that certainly doesn’t make it suck any less.
This particular night though, I started off hot. I was mad because my kid had done something I didn’t approve of and when called on it (by me screaming at said kid) reacted in a disrespectful manner. As is too often the case, the next several minutes were tense; filled with one or the other of us saying things that would have been best left unsaid.
And then I heard a very clear voice in my head, no, in my spirit, saying, “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” It was clear as day. I needed to shut up and let the Holy Spirit do his work, rather than lose my temper and say things I shouldn’t.
So I just stopped. In a calm voice, I told my child the expectation and left the room. I went to the sink and started washing dishes. When my kid came back to fight with me some more, instead of responding, I recited this verse over and over in my head. Be quiet. The Lord will fight for you. After all, my kid knew what had been done wrong. The kid knew the consequences were appropriate. There was no need for me to continue pressing my point. I didn’t need to prove I was right. You guys know how hard that was for me, right?
After a few minutes of getting no response from me, my child began to calm down. The voice softened and eventually, the heart did as well. We made it through that night both in one piece and the next day was better, even with the consequences in place. Because I had been still.
A couple of things about this story that I think are worth mentioning.
First, Psalm 119:11 (NIV) says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” This is our primary objective in memorizing Scripture: avoiding sin. In my anger, I had been sinning. Shutting my mouth was an act of obedience. Obedience brought peace.
Secondly, I need to acknowledge that this verse was written in a specific time and place, neither of which I was a part of. This passage is actually from the Exodus story. Moses has just led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, and a furious Pharaoh, with his entire army in tow, is now pursuing them. The Hebrew people are afraid and questioning their wisdom in following Moses. In response, he tells his people,
Fear not, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord which he will work for you today….The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.Exodus 14:13-14
And you know what? God showed up big. He parted the Red Sea. The Hebrews walked across on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to follow, they were drowned in the waters. God protected his people, just as Moses had said.
Obviously, my situation with my beloved child was not the life or death struggle the Hebrews faced, but if you’ve ever parented a teenager, you can understand that it most certainly felt that way. In the trenches of solo parenthood, that moment was monumental. Taking a breath and knowing that I could confidently hand it to God made all the difference.
I don’t know what army you’re up against tonight but maybe, just for this moment, you need to stop fighting and be silent for a while. Let the Lord fight for you.
And if you need someone to back you up in prayer, shoot me a message. I’ll do that for you.