Circumstances

JUST DO IT

 JUST DO IT

“’Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still…Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’”   Exodus 14:13-16 NIV

How many times have I found myself at what looks like a dead-end of disappointment.  Failures and screw-ups can be explained but when I’m led in what looks like the wrong direction, it seems unfair, unjustified, undeserved.   At times life is simply unreasonable.  Like the universe pays no attention to what I want or what has been promised.  In moments like these, I can’t help but look back to double check that I heard God correctly… did I miss something?   Was I mistaken?   Because the circumstances don’t line up with the promises.  Before I know it, doubt begins to take root in my heart.

Just when I feel like I’ve been driven into the ground– like a knight in shining armor, God comes through– and not a moment too soon.  A word, an inkling, a still small voice, a verse, something somehow manages to keep the promise alive and my soul from withering away with disappointment.

After ten plagues, countless firstborns slain, and a king who was fed up; the Israelites were free.   Moses led them out of Egypt and into the desert.  Then, after all of God’s sovereign intervention– He directed them straight into the sea.    Most of us would have thrown the towel in due to the obvious circumstances.  A slow-moving crowd of men, women, and children don’t stand much of a chance against an army of infuriated Egyptians in merciless pursuit.  And, needless to say, the Red Sea wasn’t exactly a great option either.  Had He led them all this way only to kill them off in some miserable, pathetic way?

You’ve probably heard the story, so you already know that the Israelites didn’t drown.  God kept His end of the bargain.  Moses stood as the people walked through the Red Sea as if it were a water park’s drained wave pool.  Sometimes, God will lead us straight into a dead-end simply to show that He is with us.  In times like these, fighting is worthless and swimming is hopeless.  We must stand so that He can act on our behalf and transform the very obstacles we face.  Despite all barriers, against all odds, come hell or high water; He proves that He is with us.

 “And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.  Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant:  When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river…and its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”   Joshua 3:7-13 NIV

Fast-forward a few years and Israel’s next leader, Joshua, is faced with a similar setback.  I’m sure Joshua remembered the Red Sea dilemma and how God came through.  Surely, he wasn’t ignorant of God’s sovereignty.  Yes, the Red Sea was slightly chancy, but this was different.

Now, I’m reading in between the lines here a bit, but I can almost hear what Joshua might have said: “Isn’t this where I just raise my hands and You split the river like you did the sea?”  Or telling the Priests; “Men, I know this ark is our most valuable possession and I know you’re the holiest among us all, but I want you to march it straight into the river.”

He couldn’t simply do what Moses had done and watch the water split wide open.  No, not Joshua, he was directed to order his best men, the cream of the crop and their sacred treasure, their promise of God’s presence;  straight into the river.  God had stepped it up a notch, a raised hand could have gone unnoticed, but a full throttle priestly processional into the Jordan wasn’t exactly discreet.  This required more participation.  This was risky.  This made absolutely no sense– this was crazy.

I can’t even tell you how many times it feels like God is trying to murder His promises—the very same ones He’s given me.  “Just march into the river Rachel, take a step of faith, and then I’ll take it from there.”   Sometimes, God will ask you to carry the very things He’s given you into what seems like suicide.  In times like these, standing in faith isn’t enough.  Only after obediently marching straight  into the chaos He called you to, will He split the river.

If You’ve Been Asked To Stand:  Stand in confidence and ignore those who threaten to kill God’s plan of destiny for your life.  He is fully capable to fight for you and doesn’t need your help.  Remember, He has promised to never forsake us and you aren’t an exception.  Rest assured that He is ready and able to carry out to completion whatever He said He would accomplish.  Stand, be still, and watch as God sovereignly kisses earth as He acts on your behalf.  

When You’re Told To March:  Depend on the Lord’s instructions, no matter how crazy they sound and regardless of how much better yours seem.  Don’t wait for it to get easy before you move.  Go full speed ahead and trust that He sees the bigger picture and can always change your circumstances.    Remember, failing isn’t His thing; He isn’t out to drown you and your dreams.   March, step out in faith and watch what once were obstacles clear out of the way.  

Don’t drown in disobedience— whether you’ve been told to stand still in faith or march forward in confidence;  Stare your obstacles square in the face and  Just Do It.

THE ONLY EXCEPTION

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

It seems to me that typically, we don’t expect God to transform or fill us. And we look to things to fill the void because we don’t truly believe that we need Him.

For a few years now, I’ve been praying for my dad whom I haven’t seen since I was sixteen. I felt that if I had a father, I would be complete. His leaving was always my excuse; my reason, to be mad at the world and live however I pleased. Recently, my mom became engaged to an incredible man of God who treats her like a queen and spoils us rotten. Their relationship is a beautiful picture of what true Love looks like. I used to believe that this hole in my heart would be filled when a father figure stepped back into my life.

For the past few weeks, I’ve relied on my environment and circumstances to sustain me. Since I’ve returned from India, it’s been easy living. It’d been so effortless that I began to rely solely on the people and things around me. Yes, it’s absolutely wonderful that everything in life seems to be simplistically drama-free, but it’s been odd. Without battles, I’ve found myself distancing from God. Growing accustomed to coping without Him. As if I only need Him when I’m injured.

Yes, I’ve been spending time with Him. But I’ve also felt empty. Somewhere along the lines of my recently effortless life, I became self-reliant. I assumed since I now had everything I was “supposed” to have, I would be content. This counterfeit confidence lasted a few weeks as  I expected my heart to be filled. But, I was wrong. Slowly drifting away, my self-reliance was killing my purpose. I’m discovering that “happy circumstances” don’t equate to feeling whole, satisfied, or fulfilled. In the end, you find yourself coming up short and something still lacks.

I don’t want to share life with God only when it’s too hard for me to handle. I want Him to be with me in everything. I imagine that it wouldn’t be very fun to only take care of your child through the difficulties. The diaper changes, cuts and scrapes, and continuous messes.  But, I’m sure payment in the form of sharing their first words, steps, or graduation, is much appreciated. God wants to enjoy life with us. He desires to walk with us hand in hand through the bad and the good. If we look, we will find Him everywhere, in everything.

Nothing on this earth will fill me. No earthly relationship can sustain me. No one but Him. He is the Only Exception. I need Him, even when life feels okay.