You’re facing something right now that appears impossible, but God has already declared it possible. You’re wondering how in the world you will ever get through this, all while God has already designed the way.
But here’s the problem with the way forward for you … it may not look guaranteed. In fact, it may look highly unlikely and very uncertain. It may look sketchy and risky and totally not what you would expect from a God who parts mighty seas for his people to proceed.
I mean really, where’s your sea parting? Where’s your dry path to move forward? Where’s your certain way in the face of impossible odds? You’re not seeing it, are you?
And here’s why you’re not seeing it … you’re expecting to see God’s movement only after the end of the story has been revealed. It doesn’t look the same in the middle of the story. You want to know exactly how this is all going to work out. You want to know how long it’s going to take and how hard it’s going to be, before you ever take the first unsteady step. Life doesn’t work that way.
We know God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians who were chasing them down to kill them. We know they walked through an impossible dry path while the sea stood on it’s end on both sides of them and they made it safely across. We know their enemies were swallowed by those same waters as they followed them. So we stand at our own impassable seas with threats chasing us down and say “God, where’s my escape? Where’s my rescue? Where’s my way through?”
But here’s what we may have missed in the story of the parting Red Sea. We missed the uncertainty of it. We missed the excruciating amount of time it took. We missed how dark and scary it must have been. We just know the sea parted and they passed.
Exodus 14: 21-22 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
Miraculous indeed, and easy for us to wish God would do the same in our lives, but we’ve been seeing this story with such confidence because we know the end. What if you were in the Israelites shoes and you didn’t know the end? What if this really looked like a death trap, because really, wouldn’t it?
Scripture tells us there were 600,000 men, plus women and children who followed Moses out of captivity in Egypt. That’s a crowd of about 2 million people. 2 million people on the run from an enemy chasing them down in chariots with the sole intent of killing them.
Imagine being a mama in that crowd trying to protect her children while fleeing. Imagine the fear and exhaustion. Now, here it is late at night, and you come upon an impassable sea. Not only a sea, but a wild wind blowing the water.
I’ve spent this month on Pensacola Beach where the waters are the prettiest color of turquoise and the beach is the softest white sand. It’s paradise. Paradise, until a storm blows in. The wind turns these calm waters into a raging sea of ferocious power. I wouldn’t get in that water. I certainly wouldn’t lead my family into that water.
But here you are, in a crowd of 2 million people with your family, running for your lives, and you come to the edge of the Red Sea when the winds are wild, and you see the crowd in front of you is entering the waters! They’re walking in! What would you do?
Standing on the beach looking at the horizon, you see approximately 1 mile. That’s on a clear and calm day. This wasn’t a clear and calm day. This was at night with a wind so wild it caused the water to stand on it’s edge. The Israelites had over 4 miles to travel to the other side of the sea. They couldn’t possibly see what was ahead of them.
My friend, this is what God making a way looks like. We have it all wrong in our head. We imagine a 6 lane highway magically appearing with flashing signs directing us. No, it looks like a death trap. It looks like total uncertaintity. It looks terrifying. It looks like the craziest possible option, and you’re walking in with no guarantees.
Now, think about this, with a crowd this size, there’s no possible way everyone could have seen the moment when Moses stretched his hand over the sea causing this clearing. There’s no possible way everyone could have heard the instructions to move forward. Let’s do the numbers. With 2 million people, if the crowd was moving forward in a group that was 100 people wide, that group would be 20,000 feet long. 20,000 feet is over 4 miles of people. This means even if they were walking through the sea bed at 100 people shoulder to shoulder, crowded with only 1 foot between one person’s chest and the next person’s chest, that line would be over 4 miles long. People would literally be just stepping onto the sea bed while others had already crossed.
You think there wasn’t panic? Heck, have you seen people fighting in line at the Chic-Fil-A? Imagine a 4 mile long crowd thinking at any moment that water will come crashing down on them. Crashing down on you and your family, in the dark, surrounding and overwhelming you. Imagine that for a moment.
They hadn’t seen the miracle for themselves. They were 4 miles away from the sea when the power of God worked through Moses to make it part. They weren’t there when they heard Moses with complete confidence give the orders to march on. They were just following along in the dark, doing really crazy things, with absolutely no promise they would make it to the other side.
And this is exactly what it looks like to step into the miraculous guidance of God.
Total uncertainty. Total risk. Total dependence. And a whole lot that simply doesn’t make any sense.
It looks like taking a job on the other side of the country and moving your family when it was so comfortable where you were.
It looks like stepping up and doing the right thing, when you know the right thing will cost you greatly.
It looks like showing up when you feel totally inadequate, with a complete dependence on God to do what you know you can’t do.
It looks like staring down the odds and deciding to live fully any way.
It looks like going unsure, proceeding scared, moving forward while still questioning, and knowing there’s absolutely no way this will work if God doesn’t do something big here.
It’s so easy for us to read the short story, “So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
And then we wonder where our short story is. Why is this dragging on and on? Why is this taking so long? Why is this so hard? Why am I still so uncertain of the way? Why won’t God just tell me for sure what to do and how this is all going to work out? Well honey, you’re not reading your story yet, you’re living it. You’re in the long story where you don’t see the end, you just have to trust there is one.
You have to trust when it’s finally your turn to go, there will be enough for you. You have to trust God will hold those seas on their end for you to pass too. You have to trust in the middle of the darkness, there’s a way through it, so take the next step.
What next step, the one he guides you to. Yes, even when that step looks uncertain and unreliable. Even when you don’t understand it or see it all. Even when there are absolutely zero guarantees this will work. You move forward with God. This is how you pass through impassable seas in your life. And you won’t see it until you look back, but this really is all working together for your good.
God’s guidance and provision often looks like “Holy crap, what am I walking into!” If you’re seeking to follow God, sometimes you just have to walk right into it!