Friday, August 16, 2013

Are There no Graves in Egypt?


Last month I taught our high school Sunday school class out of Exodus.  The story is a familiar one, but there is something about reading Old Testament stories again in detail.  I love paying attention to the way things are worded, to the exact dialogue that takes place beneath the familiar story line.  The children of Israel have just witnessed the power of God in the ten plagues.  They have finally escaped from Egypt, carrying with them the silver and gold and clothing that the Egyptians had given them, eager to get God's people out of the land.  They were led by a cloud and a pillar of fire, which I, for one, would love to have seen.  They have just seen miracles with their own eyes.  And still... when they were face to face with the Red Sea, they turned back and saw Pharoah and his army approaching, they freaked out.  I would have, too, I think.  Despite all that they had seen.  Despite the fact that God had just shown himself powerful and capable.  Despite the fact that He had delivered them.  They began to voice their panic.  

Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?

Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.

So dramatic.  And I get it.  Their lives were on the line here.  The lives of their children were in danger.  There was nowhere to go, it seemed.  But it's easy for me to feel judgment when I read this story.  It's easy for me to think "Why are you faithless people worried when God is about to deliver you in a huge way?!".  After all, I have read the whole story.  I know how it all works out.  But I feel for them, you know.  Because I am just the same.

We moved to Tennessee because we were supposed to.  There were lots of things we didn't know, but we knew it was the right thing to do.  And we knew that God doesn't lead anywhere that He doesn't already have provision planned.  So we came.  And here we are.  I have been casually looking for a job to supplement Jake's church salary since we arrived, but last month we saw the last of my school contract paychecks.  So now, it is serious.  The situation.  The job search.  Now, it feels a little more pressing.  And in addition to regular living expenses, we have a baby coming.  Babies are expensive.  Life is expensive.    

Yesterday, I had a little standing-by-the-Red-Sea moment.  I had a second job interview at a job that was too far away and didn't pay enough.  I redid our budget AGAIN to see if there was any way to make things work until I found a job.  I felt very overwhelmed.  Nothing was falling into place.  I felt that there was nowhere to go.  No jobs to be found.  No opportunities coming my way.  And time felt like it was closing in on me. Only four months until this baby arrives.  

I started thinking about Dallas.  I could have gone back to teach for another year.  I love the school and I love teaching.  We had a job offer in Texas.  We had friends.  Our family is there.  Couldn't God have left us there and taken care of us?  Weren't we better off financially?  And yet... that was not where God kept us.  He moved us here.  And we love it.  We do.  But sometimes it's hard to see how He is going to come through.  It's terrifying to stand here looking towards the Red Sea of tomorrow and have no idea how we are going to get across.


But here is what I know.  Just like the Israelites had seen God move and work, I have seen God move and work.  Over the last twelve months, our financial situation has been a roller coaster of no paychecks, reduced paychecks, and then no paychecks again.  And you know what?  God miraculously came through for us.  We have had more than what we needed.  We have come out of Egypt with silver and gold.  We have been taken care of.  And God didn't bring us to Tennessee to abandon us.  He didn't move us here, only to leave us to fend for ourselves.  This is not who He is.  It is not how He works.  


Your Red Sea and mine might be different things entirely, but they feel the same.  Yours can feel just as terrifying.  And because we know the rest of the story, we know the way things ended, we can rest in knowing that God has something up his sleeve.  I have said it a thousand times, and I will say it again... He has provision planned before we ever have a need.  So hang out here with me.  Stand next to the Red Sea without fear.  Enjoy the breeze off the water.  Ignore the enemy behind you. Wait for the waters to part.  Change is coming.  Deliverance is on its way.  

2 comments:

  1. Truly amazing Julie. I was in serious need of this reminder because I have been standing at the Red Sea for a while now driving myself crazy about the same worries. In the book of Matthew God also reminds us. "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

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