Growing up, I must have read (or heard) this passage of Scripture a thousand times. Exodus 14. The Israelite's are set free from Egypt. With victorious hearts and hands full of the treasure of Egypt, they head off toward the Promised Land. They’re free! They’re headed for great things!!! This is their moment!!! And then they run into the Red Sea. Panicked and afraid they do what you and I would never do (major eye roll) and they freak out!!! What were they going to do? The Egyptians were fast on their tale. Suddenly their praise for deliverance was changed to accusations against God that HE brought them out into the wilderness just to kill them. Familiar story, right? But here’s the part that stood out to me for the first time as I recently read this Scripture. God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.
“Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them.
And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.” (Exodus 14:1-4 THE MESSAGE) Did you see it?
While the Israelites were panicking, worrying that God either didn’t know what He was doing or accusing Him of having evil intentions to hurt them, God was NOT shaken by the obstacle that stood before them AT ALL.
It didn’t surprise Him. It didn’t shake Him. Not once did He ever even think, “This was unexpected, what should I do now?”
Nope. The truth was that God designed this route with the Red Sea in mind.
And He did it for a purpose: To reveal His glory to the Israelites.
Although the Scripture doesn’t specifically say it, I wonder if He didn’t want to also reveal His glory to an even greater degree to the Israelites.
I wonder if part of His intention wasn’t to show His people that they could trust Him, that He was bigger and more powerful than any obstacle, any struggle or any enemy they may face.
Perhaps the reason that I wonder this is because every time I read this passage I’m reminded of a very difficult time in my life.
It was a number of years ago and I was faced with an obstacle that I honestly didn’t know how to overcome.
Much like the Israelites, I cried my tears of panic, I was acutely aware of the danger that was circling, and I even questioned how God could let this happen.
In time, God did eventually provide a miraculous deliverance. Over the years I have rejoiced over and over again that God provided, protected, and made a way through my own personal Red Sea.
As the years have passed I’ve even told people that this experience—-although ridiculously hard—was probably one of the best things that ever happened in my life because it changed me and I like the changes. It made me trust God more, and grow in my relationship with Him. I’ve matured. My outlooks are different and I am a different person since this trial.
All of these thoughts were flying through my mind as I read these Scriptures once again. But this time, with these particular verses standing out to me, the thought went through my mind that said: Perhaps God always intended this incident to happen so that He could show me His glory,
Stop for a moment and let that sink in.
What if that difficult time, the struggle, the heartache that you can’t believe happened, the betrayal, the loss, the crisis that is your Red Sea today was actually designed by God so that He could reveal His glory to you and through you?
What if God isn’t surprised or shocked but He actually led you to this trial to show you that He is faithful, He is greater than any problem you are facing, and that He can be trusted to guide your life?
How would this change your perspective of your current situation?
How would it change your prayers?
Could this truth take you from sounding like the children of Israel who said:
“Aren’t there enough cemeteries in Egypt that you brought us all the way into the desert?”
to saying as Moses did:
“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.” (Exodus 14:13-14 The Message)
Is it helpful knowing that God is not shocked, He is not surprised, He isn’t even a little worried about how things are going to turn out. Instead, there is truth in the much quoted saying that “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
Just as He brought the Israelites across the Red Sea and safely onto the other side, He will bring you through this trial that He allowed and even orchestrated for the purpose of showing His glory through you.
We see it in the Bible. I’ve seen it in my own life and the lives of others. Today in your own trial, you can rest assured that this promise will hold true for you, too.
God has a plan; He has a purpose. Today’s trial will be tomorrow’s testimony.
So hold on, keep following God, and rest that He has everything under control. If you cry along the way, that’s ok too. Just keep moving forward knowing that “those who sow with tear will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5). And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. (Exodus 14:31)
To Read More About Trusting God Thru the Hard Times, Read Finding Healing