Newly Dried Ground
Part of the sermon today focused on Israel’s confrontation with the Red Sea. (See Exodus 14). Before them lay an insurmountable obstacle. On either side were mountains. And coming up behind them was Pharaoh’s murdering army. In parting the Red Sea, God teaches to us what Charles Spurgeon was later to explain: “The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape.”
Sometimes I feel that the obstacles between me and God are unique and insurmountable. I look around at all those I know that have struggled with the same sins as I have, and they have all failed to come to or remain in Christ. I feel hopeless, like I’m doomed to head down a path that all those before me have walked, and this path inevitably leads away from an earnest and passionate life in Christ.
But then God reminds me of two things. First, at times, He graciously shows me that I’m not alone. Like a shaft of light entering a dark room and illuminating a single object, people in my life who in my woe I have ignored are suddenly brought to the fore; and these are the very persons who too struggle with the same things and yet are overcoming. It is as if He speaks to me like he did to the depressed and persecuted Elijah, who said “I am the only one left,” to which God responded, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel — all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:14, 18). Or when Paul fell into a similar darkness in Corinth, God too assured him, “Do not be afraid any longer . . . for I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9, 10). So too God slaps the arrogance out of me sometimes, assuring me that I’m not the only one going through this struggle, and indeed there are many before me and with me who are journeying the same difficult but glorious road. (Cf. Hebrews 12:1).
Even so, there are times when the loneliness is too palpable, when there is no one in sight to credibly empathize. It is then that God reminds me of the second thing, the thing that today I heard Spurgeon had written about: “The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before.” Even though no man in all of history had set foot on the Red Sea’s bed, still God provided for four million feet to cross it at once. Even if all before me have failed in the struggle, still God will provide a way that I might succeed through Him. Against all experience. That takes faith.