Thursday, March 28, 2013

You want me to cross where?

It is one thing to stand still - quite another to be at peace, remaining at rest, while the world whirls past you at speeds capable of making your head spin!  Moses is leading the people of Israel away from the slavery of Egypt - Pharaoh's army close on their heels.  Imagine being an unorganized, start-up nation, no armies of your own, and only a "dream" of freedom.  Here you are, faced with the armies behind, and a body of water before - one direction ensures bondage, the other promises hope - but something stands between their past and their future.  The water - their dividing line between the past and the promise of hope.  As the "past" closes in, they press closer to their future state - but there is a "hurdle" of sorts - the Red Sea.  In the presence of their "past" and the hope of their "future" stands the ominous "present". 
13 Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again.  14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.  (Exodus 14:13-14 AMP)

Ever find yourself at the intersection of past and future?  If you have, you probably understand the magnitude of the "present".  Too many of us want to deal with our "past".  Just like Israel, we see it as the armies which pursue us.  Too big for us to escape - encroaching upon the "space" we have put between us and it.  We also see the "future" - but it is obscured by the impossibilities of what appears to be in our "present".

If you are like me, you probably see your "Red Sea" before you, then turn to the right or left, hoping to find some other "passage" into the future.  You hope for a "shallow" spot, not so ominous and seemingly impossible.  We hope for the "easy way out", but the truth is, there is no better "crossing point" than the one God brings us to the first time!

Here they stood - right where God had brought them.  The passage seemed impossible - as though what laid between their past and their future would engulf them and take them under.  It is not uncommon for us to feel this way when we are making a clean break from our past.  We will ALWAYS face barriers between where we were and where we need to be - it is in the presence of these barriers where our faith is grown.

See what Moses instructed Israel that day - Fear NOT.  Stand STILL.  SEE the salvation God will work for you today.  Three important things, are they not?  In the presence of the barriers to our break from the past and our walking into our future state, we most often find moments of fear - paralyzing, crippling, emotionally charged fear.  We find it hard to stand still, wanting to find another way - because our escaping what is in our past is just that important to us!  The promise of what God has provided for our future is never really ours until we SEE the salvation God will work for us TODAY!  It is in TODAY he breaks the bonds of the past, opening up the passage into our future.

Don't lose sight of what Moses says next - the past you see today, you shall NEVER see again!  The pursuing force of the past you shall NEVER see again - when you choose to cross exactly where God brings you today.  The problem we continually face is choosing to look for the shallow crossing - leaving an opportunity for our past to pursue.  It is in the "depths" of God's designed crossing point that our past is overwhelmed with his power!

The next statement is not without its instructions, as well.  It is the Lord who fights for us in our present when the crossing point between our past and our future is exactly where he brings us.  We don't realize he already has prepared the very thing which will break the connection with the past.  Two things he asks of us as we face the crossing point - remain at rest and hold our peace.  That means no "worry words" and no "restless roving".

Restless roving - the movement we feel compelled to do whenever we are faced with something we don't understand - something which seems to overwhelm us.  Worry words - those expressions of doubt which surface in the very presence of the challenge of "passing through" what God brings us to.  Don't ever forget this instruction - when we are willing to stand still and watch in expectation for what God will do, the "passage" which seemed impossible will open up before us.  It is in the stillness and submission of our spirit that God is free to act.

We each have a past to escape and a future to embrace.  In between the escape and the embrace comes what seems beyond the realms of possibility.  It is the presence of these three forces we must choose to stand still and remain at peace.  Ominous task, huh?  Yet, in crossing exactly where God places us, we shall realize the escape and be right where we need to be to embrace the possibilities of our future.  Just sayin!

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