“Moses!” It is my daughter’s favorite faux cuss word, a word when life surprises her (and maybe not in a good way.) When her brother knocks a glass of milk into her lap. Moses! When she bumps into a forgotten deadline. Moses! When we wake up to a snow hurricane–um, thank you, Denver, but we’ll have no more of your bomb cyclones, please.
I have been thinking about a Moses moment lately, a time the old patriarch ran into one of life’s bigger surprises. It surely caught them all off-guard, just on the heels of a celebration. After all of the hoopla, Pharaoh finally let the people go. And the people, albeit a little dazed by the long-awaited answer to prayer, packed up, accepted their neighbor’s jewelry boxes, and left. With a great shout and a song of praise, they were delivered, they were set free. Amen. The End.
Pharaoh gave one last ugly gasp, rallied his soldiers, hunted them down. And they were stuck, between an impassible ocean before and an angry army behind. Moses!
I came across a little reference to this moment in the Psalms not long ago, and was taken aback by the tone.
“Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.” (Psalm 106:7)
Now there have been a lot of rebellious moments when the Israelites got it wrong. Golden calves and a lot of whinging come to mind. But a bit of panic caught between the sea and a sharp place? Timid, yes, but rebellious?
We serve a tender God, quick to scoop us up and comfort us. So why the indignation here in Psalms? The people, it says, “did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love.”
I am preaching it to myself these days. When I’m caught between the impassible and the impossible, God is good. When I can’t see a way ahead, God is the way-maker. When I can’t foresee the future, I can remember the past, the abundance of His steadfast love, the wonder of His works.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.'” (Exodus 14:13-14) Fear not, Kate. Stand firm. See (remember!) the salvation of the Lord, whose works are nothing short of amazing.
I read it just this morning in another blog, “the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters…” (Isaiah 43:16) It is always a light thing for the Lord, upending the impossible. I cannot cling to a promise that He will make an easy way, but He will make the best way. He will always tell an edge-of-your-seat story that begs to be retold.
Recently I read these words of Hudson Taylor: “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” With my daughter, I shake my head. Moses! With God, all things are possible; He makes all things beautiful in His time.
*Photo from worldatlas.com