I went out unafraid of the vast army ahead of me because of God’s promise and assurance to me the previous night. However, as the day unfolded, my heart was again in turmoil. I began to worry about a lot of things. I easily lost sight of Him. In my eyes, the vast army became greater than my Lord.
Are you really going to deliver me?
How can this be Your battle?
Why would You show favor to me when I am at fault?
Was that really Your message to me or am I only taking that passage to suit my own desires?
I became fearful and prepared to retreat but the Lord took hold of my heart and shifted my gaze back to Him.
My emotions were dictated by what I was magnifying. If I want my heart to be still, I need to focus on the steadfast character of the Lord, not on the changing circumstances and people around me.
I took refuge in His Word: “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17) This was the only thing that kept me going each day.
Finally, after three weeks in battle, I found relief. The Lord delivered me but not the way I expected it. He led me to a safe place but through a route I never wanted to take. Hoping to understand what happened, I asked the Lord: “Was it really necessary? Does it really have to be this way?”
He replied through the passage in Exodus 13:17-18:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
Even though the Israelites went out ready for battle, God knew they might change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war against the Philistines. So He led them through a different route. Then He had them turn back and encamp by the sea. Pharaoh thought “the Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert” so he pursued them but the Lord gained glory for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army. (Exodus 14:1-4)
At first, it didn’t make sense to take a longer and more difficult route when there are easier and shorter alternative routes for that same destination. But considering my hesitation about an important decision, I believe God did this so there would be no chance for me to change my mind and choose not to go out of my comfort zone.
The Lord is provident. He knows my heart. He knows exactly where He is leading me and what route I should take in the same way He knew exactly where He would lead the Israelites in their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.
Just when I thought the battle is over, He said this to me again:
“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)
Oh yeah, the Lord is not yet done! This was just the first leg of a journey I never ever imagined even in my wildest dreams! I await in eager expectation to witness God’s glory and to see the fruit of His work.
But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
First published on April 14, 2017.