There was an old woman who swallowed a fly. . . Are you familiar with this old song? She swallowed a fly and then swallowed a spider to catch the fly and then a bird and then a cat. . . She keeps swallowing things to remedy the previous attempt at remedying the previous action. And the original predicament of swallowing a fly isn’t really a big deal, just a little protein.
Do you have feel like this old woman? I mean do you ever try to fix something only to find that the solution requires another solution? Things seem to snowball and go from bad to worse. What started out as a swallowed fly eventually becomes a swallowed horse! And a very bad outcome!
I have felt this way lately. I try to improve a bad situation, only to find myself in a worse one. My busyness and extensive planning don’t seem to do anything. So when I heard the words of Moses recently, I was struck by how noisy I really am.
The people of Israel had just left Egypt. They were in shock from the events of the past few days. They had been slaves but now they were free. And before they had a chance to relax, they see that the Egyptians are indeed chasing after them. They complained to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” Moses tells them to be quiet and stand firm. He assures them that “the Lord will fight for you and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14). And God does fight for them in a big way, he parts the Red Sea so that they can walk through on dry land. And he causes Egypt’s army to be swallowed up.
How often do my own efforts just become noise and distraction? Why do my best intentions only seem to make things worse? Maybe, I need to hear Moses’ words and instead of acting and complaining, I need to be silent. I need to let God fight the battle. In silence, I wait and I trust. Because that is the only thing that I have to do.