How do you respond to difficulty? Are you an optimist who always finds the good or a problem-solver who creates a handful of contingency plans?
Me? I’m like Israel. My response to difficulty is usually anxiety, discouragement, and doubt. I look at the “Red Seas” of my life and cry out. For example, I recently became a homeowner. Yay! Right? Yes. But also, the journey to the closing was rough. I’m talking about five different closing dates, a two-week stay at a friend’s becoming a three-month stint, and a week where it looked like it would all fall through and I would lose all my money. After one gut-wrenching phone call with my realtor, I remember sitting in my friend’s kitchen, with my head in my hands, wondering if I had made it all up.
I imagine Israel felt the same way, but ten thousand times over with the Egyptians behind them and a literal dead end in front of them. Even if they could swim, there was no way they could swim the length of the Red Sea. Though God had shown Himself to be all-powerful, this difficulty caused them to doubt God’s ability and character, asking, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:11).
Growing up, I often heard the saints of my childhood church sing of a God who would never forsake His people. They would belt out in three-part harmony with conviction, “I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.” Today’s reading proves this lyric to be true. After miraculously executing the ten plagues, God didn’t lead Israel to the Red Sea to leave them. Instead, the Red Sea was purposed to be their deliverance and Egypt’s defeat. He asked them to abandon their fear and quietly watch Him fight for them.
As I sat in my friend’s kitchen, God asked the same of me. I wish I could say I responded with a resounding yes, but I honestly had no choice. My chips were in. All I could do was trust Him. I’m happy to report He did, but I’m even more delighted to say God fought for my heart to find deeper levels of trust in Him.