When my husband was a little boy, he enjoyed playing cards with his grandfather. He loved to play Rummy 500, where a player picks up one card on their turn and discards one into the discard pile. Once a player gets three cards in a row, either of the same number or in the same suit, he can put those cards down; lessening the amount he keeps in his hand. Often, his grandfather would pick up all the cards in the discard pile, only to get one set of three. When my husband asked him why he did that, he said, “the more you pick up, the more you put down.” Hand after hand his grandfather would match all of the cards in his hand and win. This seemed counterintuitive to my husband. How could picking up more result in winning a card game?
Because it wasn’t what his grandfather picked up that led to his wins, it was what he laid down. My husband could have picked up all the cards in the pile too, but still holding them when his grandfather discarded the last card in his pile would not allow him to win. It’s only when he chose to lay them down was how he won.
In Exodus 14:10-14, Moses gives the Israelites an interesting strategy to win the war against the Egyptians: “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 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? 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!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see the day you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:10-14
The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for His help. Yet, He tells them once they laid down their weapons and their self -made plans for how to win the war and pick up their trust in God, He would fight for them. Ironically, it is in their ability to be still that God could do what only He could to win the war.
So often, I fight an uphill battle. I try so hard to create peace for myself by doing everything in my power to control the outcome of my circumstances. It’s not until I surrender my life to God’s trust and control that I can truly achieve the peace God desires for me.
It is in our stillness that God gives us peace. But we must lay down our desire to control and manipulate outcomes to achieve it.
What in your life must you lay down in order to achieve the peace you desire?
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