One step forward, two steps back… Add a little tune to this phrase and you could have a depressing country western song. You may even have a greatest hit on your hands because it seems to sum up the way many feel these days. This short phrase has been playing like a broken record in my head lately as I have adjusted my plans to meet the reality of each new day.
I’m a planner and this year has not been an ideal year for planning much of anything. Scheduling any type of event has involved thinking outside the box, being creative, and always having a contingency plan. (And writing in pencil, not pen.) I handled it pretty well at first and found my energy in being creative and trying new things. When Plan A wouldn’t work as smoothly as I had thought, I quickly opened the playbook for Plan B…then Plan C…Plan Q…
I had navigated all the twists and turns this season has had to offer fairly well until a few weeks ago. As I was washing the dishes one afternoon, in the quiet of my kitchen, my heart was burdened with sadness and defeat. My mind had been drifting through the many emotions swirling through me when I looked up to see a small scripture card hanging on my window. The gentle whisper printed on the card said, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. Exodus 14:14.” The words punctured my soul as I considered the fact I had perhaps been trying to fight a battle myself in the days prior.
Moses confidently spoke these words to the Israelites as they stood on the bank of the Red Sea. After leaving Egypt they had found themselves caught between an army who wanted to do great harm and a raging sea without a bridge. Instead of holding fast to the Word of God and remembering all His promises, the Israelites were fixated on the obstacles surrounding them. Perhaps we feel some of the same fears and anxieties now as we stand here wondering how we will ever cross this sea of division and virus talk. I don’t know about you, but I have heard and done my fair share of whining and grumbling, much like the Israelites. Energy all wasted on complaining about the problems around us, rather than simply being still; faithfully trusting our Sovereign God’s timing. As the Israelites anxiously waited on the shoreline for what was next, the Lord spoke and Moses obediently reached out his hands. As he stretched his arms over the water, God fought the battle as the sea opened and a path to freedom was given. Step by step the Israelites put one foot in front of the other all the way to the other side – on dry ground, no less!
I took in the words on the small card as I continued my task in the kitchen. Shortly after, my mind turned to praise and thanking God for the many battles He has fought on my behalf, even the ones I’m unaware of. The burdens weighing me down were lifted from my heart and I was reassured all would work out in His perfect timing. The next several days I stayed focused on what God was doing in this situation and did my best to be obedient to His leading – step by step. As I did I still encountered obstacles and doubt, but I surrendered it all to Him. Want to know what happened next? God fought the battle and not only did He take care of the situation, He provided in abundance!
May this be so of us today as we faithfully trust God’s plan in this time and place. May we hold steadfast to His promises and find our hope and strength in Him alone.
“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2