And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
This morning God led me to the story of the Israelites and their journey across the Red Sea. It still amazes me that every time I read something I have read many times before, I can still learn something new.
In Exodus 14, God places the Israelites in an area where they appeared to be trapped. God hardens the heart of Pharaoh and he sends out his army after them. We all know what happens from here, Moses, led by God, stretches out his hand and parts the sea so the Israelites can cross on dry land. Then God instructs Moses to once again stretch out his hand so the sea returns and drowns the Egyptian army.
We all have had our wilderness experiences. Sometimes they happen every day. As the verses above remind us, God will fight for us, and he will bring us through.
My message this morning was not about the promise of deliverance, but about the placement in the situation. If you go back and read the chapter, God strategically places the Israelites where he wanted them to be. Yet they felt hemmed in and were scared. Pharaoh saw what appeared to be a great opportunity to reclaim his servants and sends out a confident army ready to bring the Israelites back to captivity.
Strategically placed. Have you ever thought about that? All the times we face situations where it seems we are hemmed in, with no options, we were strategically placed there.
I had to take some time to dwell on that this morning. The past year was a tough one. I endured some pretty scary health issues. For a while nothing seemed to be working, and I feared what my life would look like if I kept spiraling downward. I felt trapped, hemmed in.
How would I take care of my family?
How would I pay my bills if I can't work?
Why would God put me in the midst of seeking a degree that I am sure he called me to pursue, only to make it so hard to take the classes I needed?
Why would God take away the ability to do the things-such as teaching, or singing in the choir, that give me my opportunity to worship and share his good news?
What if it is a tumor?
What if my eyesight doesn't come back...
It is hard to think about being strategically placed in situations in our lives that scare us to death. I'm still pondering over the why. Admittedly, sometimes deliverance doesn't come with the swipe of a hand, it takes time.
I do know one thing. God takes care of us in the wilderness, and we need not fear. When we are able to look back at the deliverance he gives, we see the wonder of the situation.
David knew this lesson too:
Psalm 27The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
Strategically placed...if he puts you there it is for a reason. Instead of trying to fix our wilderness situations, we need to sit back and watch for the wonderful things God makes of them.