Are you Backed up Against the Red Sea?
What to do when you don’t know what to do.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Did you ever make a 5-year plan outlining the steps you would take in your life and what you expected to achieve over the next few years? I’m guessing that the carefully calibrated and smooth roadmap you worked out probably had a few rough detours, and you may not have landed exactly where you had planned to be. Why did God make your road so bumpy?
God doesn’t take shortcuts
It says in the book of Exodus, the Israelites had suffered in slavery for over 400 years in Egypt, but God had a surprising plan to rescue them. He brought plague after plague upon the Egyptians until the final plague caused such suffering that Pharaoh released them into the desert. When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night guiding them through the desert to the Red Sea. Then God purposely hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he commanded his army of chariots to pursue them. It appeared that God trapped the Israelites between the sea, and Pharaoh’s army. The people of Israel cried out in fear. Could it be that God brought them this far only to let them die at the hands of Pharaoh?
My friend, what challenges are you facing? Are you tired from life’s day to day issues? Perhaps you lost a loved one recently or received a bad report from your doctor. Maybe there is strife in your household, you have stress at work, or worse, you may have lost your job and are in financial trouble. Some suffer from addictions they cannot seem to overcome as they search for a way to ease their pain. Others slip into the dark hole of depression like how the Israelites must have felt when they were trapped against the sea facing certain death with no apparent way out.
Do you ever wonder how you ended up here? Sometimes we think we are following God, but we find ourselves in a bad place, or we may be following our 5-year plan and are surprised at the result. We wonder why God would allow us to be in this situation. There seems to be no way out. God’s plan doesn’t make sense to us.
What can we do about it?
Know that God’s plan is more complicated than we can understand. We all should expect to go through trials and valleys in this life, and we have not been forgotten.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
What can we do when we are facing trouble and become discouraged? Trust God. There is a way to find peace again. The Bible also says to pray and give thanks to God, and you will have peace.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
So, what happened to the Israelites?
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:13-14
Although the Israelites saw nothing but impending disaster, God had a plan beyond their wildest imagination. Yes, He planned to bring them out of slavery and into the Promised Land, but He also planned the destruction of Pharaoh’s army as a demonstration so all would know that He is the LORD. God ordered Moses to stretch his hand out over the sea and God miraculously parted the water. The Israelites crossed over the Red Sea on dry land and when the Egyptian army followed them, God caused the water to cover the chariots and horsemen, killing them all.
Did the Israelites live happily ever after, free from all trials and tribulations? Well, not really. Even after all the miracles they saw, they continued to struggle with their fears and lack of faith, but God faithfully continued to guide them for the next 40 years as they finally reached the Promised Land. Generations afterward drifted from God, but God always kept His promises, and He sent His only son Jesus to give us peace and eternal life through him.
So stand firm, pray and trust God. Don’t forget, you are praying to the God who parted the Red Sea.
Pray this week:
Lord, please help me to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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