I received a desperate e-mail from a young lady this week. Her husband had walked out of the home earlier that day and her message to me was full of questions and fearful imaginations of what the future held. Most of the e-mail was the overflow of her emotions at the moment but there was a statement and a question directed specifically to me: “I don’t know what to do now. What should I do?”
I wrote back and told her to stop and stand still. It was obvious she was tempted to dash off in a frenzy of activity in an effort to try to fix everything – and that will invariably get a person in trouble. She was lost in the “dark woods” of life and was tempted to run off “in a direction that seemed right” which usually only makes it worse. Check any Department of Natural Resources web site (I choose Minnesota for this quote) and they will all have a statement similar to this: “All wilderness experts agree on one thing: As counterintuitive as it might seem at the time, if you’re lost in the woods, stay put. Trying to hike out, a person often gets into deeper woods and trouble.” Basically, stop right where you are, figure out how to make the best of the immediate situation and wait for someone to come find you.
Angela Thomas, in her wonderful book, “When Wallflowers Dance,” put it this way: “When it’s dark, don’t move, no matter what. God always comes. If you find yourself in an emotional or spiritual darkness or without any sense of God’s direction, then don’t move. Wait on God. Trust His promise to you. Sit still. Don’t take one step until God comes to show you the way.”
Isaiah 30 describes a situation where Israel is about to be invaded by overwhelming Assyrian army. The people are busy, busy “fixing” the situation but Isaiah tells them that all of their efforts will fail and that the real key to facing the crisis is to “wait on the Lord.” Verse 18 reads like this: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.”
Or consider David’s comments in Psalm 33 that big armies, strong warriors and fast horses are not always the hope for deliverance. Instead, David says real hope lies in the Lord as “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (verses 20-22)
Although there are times of action, this was not one of them. Because it was so dark the thing for this sweet lady to do was don’t move, make the best of the immediate situation and wait for God. Better for her to be rescued than to run. It will be the same for us.