And my heart is singing praises to the Lord!
These feet of mine have known little but the rushing waves of adversity in recent months, and the hot sands of a one-way trip through the desert, as I struggled to trust the Lord in what he had allowed in my life, and trust that he is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. My heart has been holding to the promises of Isaiah 43:1-3, so tightly that its page is literally falling out of my Bible.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NIV)
Yes, I have struggled to trust what my eyes could not see, for what my eyes were seeing seemed like an impossible obstacle to overcome. But just as is promised in Isaiah, the Lord has been with me each step of the way and the waters did not sweep over me causing me to drown in my despair. As anyone who has followed God through the deep waters of trials or through the spiritual dryness of a time of wandering through the desert knows, it can be difficult to trust, particularly if what or who we hold dear is being threatened during this time of testing. So often, God will lead us to moments where what lies in front of us seems impossible from our perspective, and more than we can bear. These are our Red Sea moments, and what we do with them defines our faith and tests who we really believe God to be.
As I stood facing the Red Sea that stood in my path over the last couple of months, I wish I could testify that I was a pillar of strength, and the picture of perfect Christian faith. Ladies, don’t we all have this vision of what a Christian should look like in trials, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t live up to our own ridiculous standards? I am a woman of strong faith. I know who my God is and what he can do and this faith kept me from being crushed by this trial, which before coming to Christ would have thrown me into the depths of despair. When raging seas drop in our path without warning and without any sign of us ever getting around them, we have to decide to whether or not we are going to trust. Trust doesn’t come naturally or magically appear because we are a Christian. It is built with God’s Word, and it is gained through time in his presence. It is a volitional decision to turn to our mighty God in these times when our whole world is shaking and we think we’re going under. When first faced with my Red Sea, I cried (sobbed actually) but even as we cry we can choose to trust. I shook in fear; I doubted; I questioned. I asked many “whys”: “Why now?” “Why me?” “Why is this happening to my kids?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” But sisters, let me let you in on a little secret. It’s okay to ask why. It gets us to a place where we can admit we don’t have to understand why, and choose to trust anyway, day by day, and moment by moment.
God’s precious Israel followed Him around the edges of the desert, ending up at the Red Sea with their enemies hot on their trail, and it is here that we find the answer to our wonderings about why these things happen to us. Our God is a God who loves us more than we could ever fathom, so to leave us in pain can only mean that something much bigger is at stake. God used the Israelites wandering to show his power and his might. God planned for their little encounter at that Red Sea. He was in control of the hearts of the Egyptians, and he purposely told Moses to take the Israelite community to a place where they were cornered, with nowhere to run, apart from God’s deliverance. They complained, they cried out and they asked why, but God had already given Moses the answer to that question. We can find it in Exodus 14:4. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
God will gain the glory and everyone will know that He alone is the LORD.
God is faithful to us. He does provide a way out from under our trials, and as I stand here on dry ground in the middle of my Red Sea, I look around amazed at what God has done. This is holy ground and has brought me to my knees in worship. I am not yet through this trial, but the path that is under my feet and ahead of me is one that God alone could have created; and may He alone get the glory.
Whatever trial we are facing, or wherever we are on our journey, whether facing our Red Sea with uncertainty or standing right in the middle of it, may we trust the only One who is worthy, and believe the words of Moses:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you…The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, emphasis mine)
In our Red Sea moments, let us turn our eyes to Jesus, be still and wait. Our deliverance is coming! In the end, we will have victory and there will be no doubt who is God alone.
Praise his Holy Name!