September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.’”—Exodus 14:21–25 (NASB)
As an inventor, Alexander Graham Bell conceded that “when one door closes, another one opens.” Okay, but still . . . the hallway in-between can be tight!
The Hebrew exodus culminated here—the tight place where God had led His people. They faced insurmountable canyon walls and a relentless Egyptian army determined to control them. Their hopes were dashed and their hearts quaked with fear as they stood before the impossible, the impassable, and the expansive Red Sea.
What a perfect place for the Lord to appear. And when God gave the command, Moses raised his hand and the sea parted. Not only did the Lord provide the way, but He prepared it with the wind. Their deliverance, their opened door, was by His power alone. It was His sea to split, His war to win, and His glory to gain.
For the Egyptian army, the door was closing. Their defeat was realized when God looked down on them through the pillar of fire and cloud. In one staggering, terrifying moment they honored His power just as God warned they would (Exodus 14:18).
Even now, God opens doors of deliverance and closes doors of defeat in our lives. But what about those tight places, those hallways in-between? Charles Swindoll offers this bit of wisdom: “It takes tight places to break lifelong habits . . . and free us from [what] has held us hostage for years.”
Think about it. What have you been struggling with for so long? Rather than blame God or even yourself, consider where you are, who you are, and who God is. You are His creation, and He is supremely interested in being all you ever need. He is teaching you in this place to trust Him; to see that impossible, impassable situations are where He does exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). The Creator of the universe is magnifying Himself to you and providing a lesson that will be forever etched in your heart.
Then, there will come that moment when it’s time to move forward. Do so in faith. Do so knowing He is preparing the way while at the same time protecting you and defeating those things that have held you in bondage for so long.
In a personal journal, Swindoll reflects on his own “Red Sea” experience:
When I panic, I run.
When I run, I lose.
When I lose, God waits.
When I wait, He fights.
When He fights, He wins.
And when He wins, I learn.
Seas don’t part and doors won’t open until we’ve learned what God wants to teach us. When the struggle seems insurmountable, wait with wonder at how He will deliver you and seek what you can learn. Then, all at once, pass through the sea He opens for you.
Pause: Are you in a tight place? Do you routinely struggle with something insurmountable?
Practice: Rather than focus on your circumstance, focus on what God is teaching you. As my good friend Pastor Dan Hickling says, “Whenever you utter the words, ‘I’ll never …’ replace them with ‘But God…’”
Pray: Lord, what I struggle with is too much to bear. I see no way out. But I know You have me here for a reason. Please give me a teachable spirit; I want to trust in You and hold You above all else in my life. I know when I pass through the waters, You will be with me, and You will prepare the way. Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for Your patience, Your mercy, and Your strength. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.