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Dead End Places

11 May

Those of you who know me are aware of the recent upheaval in my world. Those of you who don’t probably know upheavals of your own, or are praying someone through a world turning upside down.

Questions from within and without became a barrage as I navigated through the intricate maze of emotion, faith, reality, and action. Had I done something wrong? Should I have seen this coming? How would all this affect my career? My family? My finances? Relationships? Reputation?

Ultimately, every question came back to the same place: Did I not hear God correctly?

When I found myself backed into what appeared to be a dead end, I couldn’t help but wonder if my feet had somehow slipped from the path He carved for me. Surely if I’d followed him correctly, I wouldn’t be here. Right? I felt like Job, eagerly listening to all his friends espouse their views, sifting through the words to find the elusive wisdom.

On the day I went to move out of what had become my former office, (hubby at the wheel and me firmly ensconced in my passenger seat with reading material) one thought kept popping into my consciousness: Exodus 14.

Exodus 14. At least I’d grown enough in the faith to recognize this prompting as being Holy Spirit-driven. So, I inwardly responded, “Yeah, yeah, be still, be quiet, be amazed. I get it, God.” And then that quiet voice again. Exodus 14.

Since embarking on this major career expansion two years ago, I’ve lived in Exodus 14 and various passages in Nehemiah and Isaiah. Comfort could always be found in reading again how God called His people, then equipped and provided. So, when I heard Exodus 14, I remembered well how the Israelites came screaming at Moses with the Egyptians bearing down on them. They were panicked, asking him why he brought them into the desert to die when they could have done that in the comfort of their own homes back in Egypt, thank you very much. Moses responds with some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture,

“Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

Exodus 14.

Yeah, God. Be still. Be quiet. Be amazed at the deliverance.

Exodus 14.

Okay, fine, evidently I’m missing something.

I grabbed the Bible from the dashboard and flipped to Exodus 14. Here’s what I read:

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharoah’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.’” (vs 1-4)

Hmm. God sure was specific about exactly where He wanted them to go camp. Crazy specific. Did you catch that? God told them to go to a place of death. He sent them to a dead-end place. Hemmed in by the sea, there was no escape if the enemy came against them. No earthly escape, anyway.

With moving boxes tucked under an arm, I climbed the three long flights of stairs to my office, my dead-end place, and stopped just before the final seven steps. Did I believe God led me here? Yes. Absolutely. I’d never moved without talking to Him and asking for His direction, submitting myself to it.

If I believed that – if I believed that God sent me to this place, then running to Moses screaming wasn’t necessary. I knew what Moses would say.

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…

If you are in a dead-end place and you know that you didn’t get there as a result of disobedience or not seeking God’s will, you might want to consider – is your Red Sea moment almost here?

And if that could be true, then remind yourself: even when the dry ground comes, you’ll still have walls of water on both sides and an enemy bearing down from behind. Step firmly on that dry ground. There’s a bank of freedom on the other side.

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1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Life Lessons

 

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One response to “Dead End Places

  1. sally apokedak

    May 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Wonderful post.

    Standing with your back to the sea and an enemy bearing down on you is never a comfortable place to be, but God does put us in those places, for his own glory.

    I often think of Paul and Silas singing in prison, too. When I end up in any kind of prison, I’m immediately trying to ascertain why. I’m sifting back through the days and decisions and trying to figure out if I had heard wrong, or if I’d been too slow to obey, or if I’d outright disobeyed.

    Usually I don’t come up with clear answers. Usually I have to admit that my motives weren’t pure or that I wasn’t really looking at God as closely as I should have. But none of that matters for long. I can’t even judge my own heart very well. I think God wants us to press on. I have tried to learn to be more like Paul, who sang praises to God and witnessed to his cellmates when he landed in jail, and didn’t waste a lot of time weeping over his circumstances or second-guessing himself.

    I’d not heard of your upheaval, but I’m glad to hear your testimony in this post and to be encouraged to sit tight without murmuring and complaining and fear. For God who hath delivered, doth deliver, and will yet deliver.

     

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