When I was in college I took a course on the Old Testament. I loved going deeper into the stories that I had grown up learning about in church. The thing that I remember the most is studying the story of Moses and the Israelites. The more we read and talked about their journey from Egypt to the promised land, the more annoyed I was with them. I mean, how many times were they going to “grumble against Moses” and doubt God’s provision after all the miracles they had witnessed? Man, they were whiny. I kept thinking that if I had just walked THROUGH the Red Sea, I wouldn’t be worried about how God was going to take care of something as simple as my need for food and water.
And then in Numbers, after all God had done to get them out of Egypt and keep them alive in the wilderness, they get a report about how big and strong the people are in the promised land and they have a total meltdown. “’If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained. ‘Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?’ Then they plotted among themselves, ‘Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!’’ (Numbers 14:2-4, NLT).
Back to Egypt?! These people have some serious issues. Just when I was feeling really good about myself and the faith that I would have had in that situation, I had one of those moments where God opened my eyes to the truth – I was reading about myself. Although I may not have witnessed any seas splitting in half, I had witnessed God’s provision and faithfulness in my life in many ways. And I guess I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I’m a worrier. Like, give me any situation and I can immediately tell you everything that might and probably will go wrong and what I should do to control things and make them turn out the way I want them to. I have some issues of my own.
I think the bottom line here is that we miss the things that God has for us when we don’t trust Him to do what He has promised. And we may even choose to walk ourselves straight back to the bondage we have already been freed from when we are too scared to follow where He leads. Think about how sad that is! Especially for us now, after Jesus…we have been given so much in Him. We have already been given freedom and a new identity that comes with everything we could possibly need. Ephesians 1 is a good place to start if you need a reminder of all He has given us in Christ.
I am the queen of overthinking things and making things more complicated than they need to be, everything from what to eat for dinner to how to serve God during this phase of my life. Based on conversations with friends, I’m not the only one. I’ve known Jesus for almost thirty years, and it’s easy to forget the simplicity of the gospel and the peace and faith we felt when we first put our trust in Him. In Jennie Allen’s book, Nothing to Prove, she says, “Make it your goal to love and know Jesus as much as humanly possible and ministry will happen.” I want to live in the freedom that Jesus has already given me. I believe if I focus on Him everything else will become clear and simple. I want to put one foot in front of the other, following Him in faith, even when I don’t know where He is leading or how in the world things are going to work out.
There are two songs that have been on replay in my mind a lot lately and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are both about trusting the God who parted the Red Sea for His people. One is No Longer Slaves by Bethel, the other is Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcomb. The chorus is such a reminder of His faithfulness. Let’s keep moving forward with our eyes on God and the promised land He has for us.
We will sing to our souls
We won’t bury our hope
Where He leads us to go
There’s a Red Sea Road
When we can’t see the way
He will part the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down a Red Sea Road