I’ve heard the story of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea since I was a little girl. There is so much encompassing this story, but let’s be honest, how often do we jump straight to the miracle part? The wow moment.
Lately, this story has been coming back to me in full force but God has been taking me to a different part of the story – the struggles surrounding the miracle. For God is in the journey as much as He’s in the miracle.
I’m a planner and a list person so when my daily and monthly routines suddenly get turned into complete uncertainty, it’s easy for me to fall into survival mode shrouded with stress. If I’m not doing something physical to try to figure things out, my mind is working overtime trying to find a solution. And that is where I found myself two months ago. Stressed. Confused. Frustrated. My husband is so good for me. Somehow in the midst of roadblocks and life’s surprises, he has the ability to stay calm and relax. (I’m still working on this gift.)
Through all of this, I’ve been reminded that the presence of God is beyond amazing in our lives. The miracles and provisions we’ve experienced during this challenging season have been a reminder that we serve the God who sees.
It’s been in this state that God has brought me to the story in Exodus over and over again in recent days/months.
After the mass exodus of thousands of Israelite men, women and children from Pharaoh’s oppression, we read in Exodus 13:17-18, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.”
At the beginning of their journey, no doubt, they were already experiencing unmet expectations. They were ready to fight, probably emotionally fired up anticipating victory. But God didn’t lead them into battle. He took them another route. He took them a longer way of trekking towards the Red Sea. In retrospect, knowing their tendencies for complaining and grumbling, this could have been the onset of a stirring of discontentment.
What they failed to realize was that God was working on many levels behind the scenes. With every difficult and exhausting step they took, they were walking out a miracle. Scripture says that God led them with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. Verse 22 says, “Neither…left it’s place in front of the people.
So here we have them, already journeying through different circumstances than imagined, and God directs them to turn back and encamp by the sea. I’m sure emotions were really stirring at this point. While all of this was happening with the Israelites, the hearts of Pharaoh and his officials were shifting. They were regretting their decision to let their captives go and devising a plan to recapture them.
Fast forward and once again we see God had them turn back and encamp in another place. Even in this, God had a purpose and was confusing the enemy. Finally we pick up the story where the Egyptians are pursuing the Israelites. They realize the danger and their panic turns to complaining – and lots of it.
Moses then tells them (verses 13-14), “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Today I can see how God fought for us. I can see how I took unnecessary stress upon myself when God was simply calling me to rest. So once again, I find myself learning to trust on a daily basis.
I pray this for each of you as well, whether you are walking in the struggles surrounding your miracle or experiencing the joy of the miracle itself, be still in the peace that comes from giving Jesus control of every area of your life.