Move Red Sea, Move
Why am I thinking about Moses and the Red Sea? Maybe it’s because the movie, The Ten Commandments, just made its annual Easter appearance on television. Maybe it’s because current events are reminding me strongly of that scene where Moses and the newly freed Israelites, while being pursued by Pharaoh and his army, suddenly found themselves on a cliff overlooking a vicious body of water with nowhere to go. You see, as this blog is being written, we are in the sixth week of self-isolation in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some reason, this week feels like a Red Sea scenario, where the pandemic has no intention of showing those of us, caught up in the pandemic’s fray, favor.
The novel Coronavirus has impacted every continent in this world. As of today, it has claimed approximately 166K lives amid almost 2.4M reported cases worldwide. These numbers, along with smaller, more detailed numbers for our local communities, have become an ongoing byline to every news program or headline being broadcast. Sadly, during this week six there appears to be no way out as we dangle on that cliff, waiting for something to make it end today.
But It’s Hard, Lord
And so, I think about Moses. I am pretty sure he was being yelled at, questioned, and cursed (because the Bible says so) by the very people for which he had just facilitated freedom. In these days of selfies, Moses probably would have been hit in the back of the head with sheep dung if he turned his back on this angry crowd to take a picture, or worse, pushed into the roiling waves of the Red Sea. It is also during these times that I wonder about all the ‘wonderment’ in the Bible and why the story of the Red Sea is so endearing. I think it’s a reminder to us that God came through during an impossible time. A time that truly was the difference between life and death.
God could have only come through for the Israelites if He was mindful of the imminent need. He wasn’t off toiling with something elsewhere He could have missed their cries. God was very aware of their need and was present in the moment (read Exodus 14). Likewise, when we cry out to Him, God is a very present help already aware of the need (Psalm 46:1).
This COVID-19 season is a tough one. Tough because all the endings are not happy ones. Many are dying and there is no logic as to why some survive. The Red Sea is still being the vicious body of water that it always was, and it seems God is not willing to move it so we can get on with the rest of our lives. Inherently, I believe, that is the point. When we look at scripture, time and time again, we see God doesn’t necessarily remove the situation; He moves in the situation. Yes, we see lepers healed and sight restored in the Bible, but these miracles usually happen when the person is already dangling on that cliff crying out for an intervention. The ‘red sea’ is still there, looming in the background hoping to swallow up the person’s hopes and dreams – and then we also see, God is still there.
We are reminded that, just like Moses and the Israelites, God does not necessarily move our ‘Red Sea Situations’ out of the way. Instead, He moves in them. God moves in ways that give us a better understanding of His love and His power. Much like Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross, He didn’t make the cross go away. The movement came, through Jesus’ death; and that movement continues to today in lives again and again.
Give Your ‘Red Sea’ to the Lord
As this pandemic continues to make moves across this nation and this world remember, God is still moving in ‘Red Sea Situations’. God is moving in your situation. He is a very present help in times of trouble. God is our refuge and, more importantly, God knows your circumstances and what you are going through. Keep seeking God’s face and keep your faith. Like Moses, wave your staff (e.g. through prayer) and let God move in your life. God’s movement always has a plan (Proverbs 19:21) that can overcome any circumstance and is backed by a love that is greater than anything we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20).