Years ago, God gave us the desire of our hearts and provided an opportunity for us to leave south Florida and return to the place we love the most, which is the beautiful state of New Hampshire. It was a gloriously happy time.
There was one small snag, however. The housing market in Florida had completely tanked and nine months passed with no offers.
It was at that point that a family member felt the need to tell me that the fact that our home was still on the market must be proof that God did not lead us to New Hampshire. In this person’s mind, if God was in this, our house would have sold immediately.
This was hurtful to me and I made an effort to share how clearly the Lord had led us here. I also gently reminded this person that when the Lord led the Israelites into the Promised Land, they still had giants to fight. In other words, a problem-free life (which doesn’t exist for anyone I know) is not proof that one is in God’s will.
Recognizing that this was a ploy of the enemy to drag me into doubt, fear, and confusion, I turned down his “invitation” and asked the Lord to make my faith stronger than ever by speaking to me from His Word.
He wasted no time in answering my prayer the very next morning as I read Exodus 13 and 14. As I began to read the familiar account of the exodus from Egypt, He caused me to pay particular attention to things I had never noticed before…and how they applied so perfectly to our situation at that time:
1) The Lord LED the Israelites directly to the edge of the Red Sea: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter…God led the people around by the desert toward the Red Sea…By day, the Lord went ahead of them in pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, so they could travel by day or by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Ex. 13:17-18, 21-22; emphasis added).
The Lord knew EXACTLY where He was taking His children…just as He knew exactly where He was taking our family. He is in COMPLETE control at all times.
He chose not to take the Israelites by the “easy” way; just as he chose not to sell our house right after Doug accepted his new position. One of my girlfriends left south Florida at the same time we did and her house sold almost immediately. I had to learn to not compare her journey with mine. God has something different and unique in mind for each of us.
Would I prefer the easy way? Of course! Our flesh always wants whatever causes the least pain and inconvenience. But is easy better? Not necessarily. The Israelites must have wondered at God’s actions in taking them the long way…the certainly complained about it!
Little did they know, they were being set up for a divine miracle!
2) God has rescued the Israelites from Egypt (just like He had ‘rescued’ our family from south Florida, which was our personal Egypt); YET there they were in the wilderness with Pharaoh’s army closing in on them. In the natural, things looked grim and they were “terrified.” (Exodus 14:10).
Why? Because they were ONLY looking at what was SEEN.
This was similar to our situation at the time. With two homes to pay for (and no end in sight) our financial situation looked tenuous. Based on what we could see, we were in big trouble. We could not “see” how this would possibly work for our good. Like the Israelites, I had my moments of panicking. However, I took great comfort in what Moses said to the terrified Israelites who saw no way out:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today…the Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you and you must hold your peace.”—Exodus 14:13-14
The original word for “fight” means: to make war, overcome, devour, prevail.
In other words:
*The Lord will prevail over the enemy!
*He will make war against the enemy!
*He will devour the enemy!
The word for stand still means: stand fast, withstand, present oneself, take one’s stand.
When you are facing your own Red Sea:
*Take your stand against the enemy in Jesus’ Name
*Stand fast in the TRUTH (not what you feel and can see)
*Withstand this season of uncertainty in HIS strength
*Present yourself to Jesus and ask Him to fight for you.
When we are at the edge of our own “Red Sea” we may not understand, but we can know:
a) God led us there
b) He WILL deliver us…possibly in ways that will blow our minds!
As I continued to read the familiar narrative, I noticed something I never had seen before. As the Egyptians were closing in on the Israelites, which in the natural would have meant certain death, an amazing thing happened: “Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. It came between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Throughout the night, the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” (Exodus 14:19-20)
Wow! I love that the Lord not only went before His people to lead them into new territory but when there was a severe threat, He moved behind them so that anything that tried to harm them had to face Him first! (no contest there! ).
Also, there was darkness…YET He lit up the night. He always does. In Him, there is no darkness at all. (Psalm 139:12)
That was exactly the position in which we found ourselves at that point in time: that in-between place between Egypt and God making a way for us through our Red Sea.
When you are in the same position, you can KNOW that Jesus is assuring you of His Presence and protection over your life during the scary times. He has gone before you to lead you and during your season of waiting, He is standing guard over you, protecting you and shining His Light on you through His Word.
Our home did eventually sell after one year on the market, allowing us to buy the home we had been renting. There was no financial ruin. As hard as it was, that season taught us to rest in the rock solid promises of His Word, trusting that His timing is perfect. We experienced firsthand His incredible faithfulness to us when we faced our Red Sea.
During that time of waiting, I wrote out this prayer in my journal. If you are encountering a Red Sea in your life right now, maybe you can pray this as well…
“Lord, let us stand strong as we wait on the shore of our Red Sea, desperate for You to act on our behalf. Give us a solid, fearless faith that will make You proud. We look forward to the day of Your deliverance and we will say with Moses: “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my Strength and my Song; He has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise Him…The Lord is a Warrior; the Lord is His Name…Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy…Who among the gods is like You, O Lord? Who is like You…majestic in holiness, awesome in power, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:1-3; 6,11).