We read a children’s Bible to our 4-year-old every night before bed. He always asks a lot of questions, both because he’s genuinely interested, and because each question he asks allows him another minute or two of bedtime delay.
A few nights ago we read the story of the Red Sea from Exodus 14 and 15. You probably know the one: Moses persuades Pharaoh to let the enslaved Israelites go. Then Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues them to the shore. They are trapped, men, women, and children all, between an angry army and a deadly sea.
There is absolutely no hope, no way out… until God makes a way.
There was nothing the people could do to save themselves. Everything was hopeless. Then God made a way.
One minute the Israelites were cowering in fear. The next, they were walking through the sea on dry land.
“How did God do that?” my son asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered. “But God can do a lot of things that seem impossible to us.”
I tucked him in for the night and got out my own Bible to sit for a bit with the Exodus story. Truth be told, it’s exactly the story I needed myself.
I am facing something that feels impossible.
Maybe you are, too.
Time for some Exodus.
The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Their fear is so immense, so overwhelming that they question the freedom God gave them.
Surely it would have been better to grow old in Egypt, enslaved but safe, they think.
Surely it would have been better to never taste freedom at all than to die violently on the banks of the sea with their children in their arms, they think.
Surely God has abandoned them, they think.
But has he?
In the face of their terror, Moses speaks.
Moses answered the people, “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.”
I don’t know about you, but if Moses told me to be still when an army of chariots was bearing down on me and my children, I’d have had some strong words for him.
Fear makes us thrash about. Being still seems impossible. Idiotic, even.
When I’m afraid I go from, “Lord, I love and trust you,” to “WHERE ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU GOING TO LET ME DIE VIOLENTLY ON THE SHORES OF THIS FREAKING SEA?!?!” in a nanosecond.
When I’m afraid, I forget that the same God who delivered me from slavery to sin and self, who watches over the flowers of the field, who knows how many hairs are on my head, who sent Jesus to live and die and rise and bring the kingdom is for me.
That he is with me.
That God traffics in the impossible because he is at work in deeper, greater, more beautiful, more profoundly awesome and incredible ways than we can even begin to imagine.
That the Red Sea is just the beginning of the ways God will do the impossible.
As Fleming Rutledge said, in her 2012 Easter sermon:
The raising of a dead person is impossible. Yet it was Jesus himself who said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27 and parallels). The apostolic message of the raising of Christ from the grave tells us of an event that is “powered on” by a source beyond any realm known to us.
I don’t know what you are facing today, friend, but if you too are on the banks of the Red Sea, terrified and shaken, facing something impossible, and perhaps quite unable to be still, know this:
God will fight for you.
What are you facing that feels impossible?