“And the waves of pain did wash over me with a rhythmic quality.
Ebbing and flowing. Coming and going.
I felt I needed to lie completely still so as not to be swept away….
There was no escape, no way out except to go all the way through it.
In time—a couple hours I think—the waves of grief subsided.
It’s hard to describe what happened after that….
I felt empty and spent, but I also felt comforted by God’s loving presence….
Nothing was fixed, but I was okay. I had not been swept away.”
- RUTH HALEY BARTON
Many times when we are going through life’s most difficult circumstances, we find ourselves wanting out of them.
Think about that for just a minute . . .
Since we do not have supernatural powers to teleport to different times/places, we can’t simply just “disappear.”
If we are in the middle of the circumstance . . . getting out means one of two things:
We turn around and go back OR we move ahead.
Take a moment to read the biblical story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Let’s imagine this in a more metaphorical sense, rather than just thinking of it literally.
15-16 God said to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.
17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”
19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.
The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”
26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”
27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.
When Pharaoh’s army was closing in on them, they were caught in the middle . . . they were crossing dangerous territory, walking through the sea. If they had turned around – they would still have been in treacherous territory AND they would have been walking into harm’s way. However, when in the middle, if they kept going – eventually they came out on the other side.
That is what happens when we cry out “WHY?!” We acknowledge that we are in the middle of the darkness but the cry also signifies we believe there may be a way out on the other side.
Thought to ponder:
Where are you right now that you need to come out on the other side?
Can you name the situation and then ask “WHY” so that maybe you can begin to feel a peace, even if answers don’t come?
McLaren, Brian D. (2011-03-15). Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words (p. 208). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.