A colleague recently shared a story from his youth, in which a circus knife thrower asked him to stand against the wall and allow him to throw knives at him; like most of us would, he declined. But another young man volunteered to stand against the wall while the man threw four knives at him barely missing him each time. After throwing the fourth knife the man looked at my colleague and said, “It takes a lot of faith to stand absolutely still.” As it turned out the other young man who was willing to stand still and have knives thrown at him was the knife thrower’s son. The son knew the father’s skill and trusted him enough to stand absolutely still.
When hard times come it is not easy to stand still, but instead we do what we can to try and improve our situation. We may try to run faster, or carry a heavier load. Maybe we sacrifice a little sleep to get more work done. Whatever our response, it is not often to stand still. But I think of Joseph when he was sold into slavery or then unjustly thrown into prison on the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife. Joseph remained still and waited for the Lord to move on his behalf. Although Joseph was in prison and may not have had the option to move, he did have the choice of whether he would trust the Lord. Scripture is clear, stating over and over, “the LORD was with Joseph.” The same is true for our brothers and sisters sitting in prison today – the Lord is with them. But we must remember it is true for us as well.
Relating to the plight of persecuted Christians is not always easy for those of us living with religious freedom. However, I have heard it said many times that those who live under persecution and religious oppression see us having the harder battle. “It takes a lot of faith to stand absolutely still.” I have begun to realize that by standing still and trusting God to work out the difficult circumstances in my own life I am able to stand with my brothers and sisters who at times are forced to stand still.
At the end of his story my colleague finished with this challenge: “The more we stand still the more faith you show. The more you stand the more opportunity you give God to win the fight. It’s not our job to do the fighting – we do the standing. When we stand still God then confronts and wins against the principalities of darkness.”