Pondering: Between Despair and Hope

the-exodus-007“Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!” – Psalm 77:19

When I first heard this verse in a message years ago, it stopped me in my tracks. The whole visual of a pathway that no one knew was there appearing immediately took me back to this scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

With this, I have been quick to reference this verse to many over the years as a word of encouragement for when they felt lost or in despair. In a different sort of way, I guess how I used it reflected this passage from Proverbs:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Yet, as I sat there today meeting with an executive coach reviewing a recent assessment test I took, something else dawned on me with regards to this verse that spoke to my heart even more so.

When you read Psalm 77:19, the writer is speaking of the Israelites and the great exodus. God had called them out and into the promised land and yet, Pharaoh and his armies were in hot pursuit to bring a stop to this. The Israelites had been in bondage for 450 years. They were being set free.

Yet, there they stood at the Red Sea after following God’s call feeling trapped, filled with despair, and forsaken.

They were at a threshold of sorts.

To get a real view of what happened, I want to walk through this passage from Exodus 14:

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

13 Moses answered the people, “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. 14 TheLord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.16 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.

Can you feel the stress? Can you imagine the dilemma? On one hand, you have God’s calling. And certainly, from what the Israelites were seeing right in front of them, that wasn’t going to pan out. And you have God saying to Moses, why are you crying out to me? Get your move on and trust me.

While on the other hand, the Israelites only see what was on either side of them and what that looked like was no way out, the end.

In this for me, I find such encouragement and hope in seeing this through a new lens. I get it now.

Lean not on your own understanding. When we do this, where is the faith? Isn’t that what the question Jesus asked in the boat after He calmed the storm?

For myself, when I found out last week that my main client was unexpectedly going away and leaving me with 70% minus my income, I was devastated. I knew winds of change were coming, but I never in a million years thought they were coming like this. And frankly, after a year like this past year, I was like really… You have brought me this far only to leave me and my family without the resources to survive?

Where do I even start or begin to find something so immediate that will cover my needs? The anguish was agonizing.

The interesting thing is that if you read through my posts from the past few months, I can show you this past week how every single one of the things I wrote about were coming under direct attack. And when they do, whom will I look to for help? My own understanding or God’s divine planning?

This might have shell shocked me, but this was no shock to God.

Ironically, a few days before I received word of this, I bookmarked this verse on my phone:

“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.” – Isaiah 43:19

When I first read that of a pathway that no one knew was there appeared, it struck me. It gave me hope just at the very thought of that as a possibility. But when I now not only just read it, but feel it and that which they must have felt as they had one eye on the red sea and one eye on Pharaoh’s army, it sheds a whole new light of hope for me.

God will never leave me nor forsake me. He will make a way. I just need to trust Him and take that first step or raise that staff in response to His beckoning. He will supply my needs. His word does not return void. He carries us and He rescues us.

Yet, my name is Gunnar. Gunnar means warrior. But, for most of my life, I have been a worrier. My feeling in this is that when we worry, we invite the very characteristics of hell into our lives. Separation from God. In this, we are essentially taking God out of the equation by worrying incessantly thinking we can overcome it on our own thinking and not by surrendering it simply to God.

I can’t worry my way to find the path. I can only “trust in God” my way for Him to reveal that path. And the longer I worry my way towards it, the more I prolong it. Hmm, sounds like 40 years in the wilderness.

Certainly, it may not happen overnight, but in God’s perfect timing, I know it will.

As I write this, I am close to covering my losses at least through October. After that, I have no idea.

But after seeing this passage through a new set of lenses today, I am confident in my hope that God will give me the courage to take that step. I am confident He will make my path straight. In putting to rest my worry and in putting to work my trust in Him, perhaps in this, this very action is my step onto a pathway that I never knew was there.

Three paragraphs ago, I was already struggling with what that step looks like. But as you can see, I think I just took it.


2 thoughts on “Pondering: Between Despair and Hope

  1. Pingback: What if Your Red Sea Hurried Out of Your Way? | Thoughts from the Horizon

  2. Pingback: Surviving the wilderness | Bible Aid

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