Challenges and setbacks are part of life, and there is no avoiding them. We cannot always run and hide, so how should we face them? Let’s go to a familiar passage in the bible, the crossing of the red sea, and see how Moses dealt with the problem that he and the people of Israel faced.
The crossing of the Red sea is recorded in Exodus chapter 14. The people of Israel were delivered miraculously from the hand of the Egyptians. They had come out of slavery after 430 years. The journey to the promised land has just begun. In verse 8, we read, “… they were marching out boldly.”
Maybe you are starting out on a new journey, an innovative business opportunity, a new investment, or a new job. Your dream that you had waited for so long and worked so hard for has just started to materialize, and you are filled with joy and hope that things will only get better from here.
It has barely been a few days since they left Egypt. The Israelites witnessed the 10 plagues that fell on Egypt and how they were kept safe from all of them. They were the direct beneficiaries of the mighty deliverance that God had brought forth. Now they are following the directions of Mosses and walking through the wilderness to the land of their dreams. Israelites can also see the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire that is leading their way. Now, this is an additional sign that God is with them on this journey.
As they approach the Red sea, they look back and see the Egyptians coming. In a moment, their boldness is relaced with fear. In verse 10, we read, “… they were terrified.” The people had the right to be afraid. Egyptians are the group of people who dominated their lives for over 400 years are back again in their lives, and all the past emotions of fear start rushing back into their minds. Their old scripts in their minds start playing again.
On your new journey, you may face the same situation when you face a setback. All you past start rushing back to you, and you are filled with fear and doubt, and you are stressed and afraid. You start questioning everything and doubt every interaction that you have, no matter the intention. You begin to believe everyone is against you and are after your defeat.
The Israelites certainly did feel that way, and they go to Moses and see 4 things that he does that we can do today that will help you and me face the challenges that we are dealing with in our lives.
Moses remembers the past
In verse 13, he says, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and you will see the deliverance of the Lord.” How is Moses able to remain calm when facing the same army that the people of Israel are facing? If the Egyptians had their way that day, it would mean certain death for Moses. How does one remain calm when things are uncertain?
Moses remembers the past. He was the agent that God had used to provide deliverance for the people of Israel. Moses witnessed first-hand the mighty hand of God. And, he did well to remember it. What has God done for you in the past that you need to remember today? How has he delivered you? The fact that you are alive is a miracle. Gratitude is a powerful tool that you can use to calm yourself of the anxious feeling that arises within you.
Moses truly believed and was grateful for the deliverance that the people of Israel had received and leaned on that foundation helped him remain calm when a life-threatening situation arose.
Moses considered all the evidence
When we read verse 19, we see that the angel of the Lord and the pillar of cloud were still present among the people. Fear narrows our sight. What are you not seeing today? What have you not considered?
The Israelites failed to account for the Lord’s presence by their side – a pillar of fire. How can you miss a fiery cloud? How can you not see it? It is right there in front of you. It definitely is a supernatural phenomenon, and one can miss a magnificent miracle when you allow fear to cloud your judgment.
Moses took the next step
Moses followed the instruction from God. In verse 15, we read, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” God’s instruction is to take your next step. Keep moving forward is your command from your Lord. God is telling us to be willing to do what needs to be done. The goal that you want to reach will not happen by chance. No one is going to hand it to you. You need to do it for yourself.
If Israelites wanted deliverance, it would not come to them on this side of the Red sea but rather on the other side. How about you? Which sea do you need to cross today? The Israelites were standing on the wrong side of the sea and complaining, and God’s answer to them is the same to you “move forward.” Put aside your fear and focus on your next step.
Moses was willing to do what it takes
In verse 20, we read “throughout the night,” and in verse 24, we read “the last watch of the night. The people of Israel’s victory they longed for came about during daybreak, but that happened because they had worked through the night.
Do you realize that nearly half of any day is dark, and every day starts with darkness until the sun comes out and everything becomes clear? Facing your challenges will seem like a moonless night but keep on; the daybreak is near. What do you need to do in the darkness of your situation today?
When we allow fear to dominate our thoughts, we will fall into a negative spiral like the people of Israel. Exodus 14:11, 12 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Reread those verses. Look at those questions. It was less than a week since they had witnessed the glorious deliverance. No blood was shed, no Israel’s life was lost. They had received generous gifts when they left Egypt, but Israelites forgot everything when they walked into the negative spiral.
On the other hand, Moses remembered the past, considered all the evidence, took the next step, and did what he needed to do to deliver himself and the people of Israel from the hand of the Egyptians. You can overcome your problems the same way Moses did. You may not be delivering a nation, but that does not mean the crisis you face is insignificant in the eyes of the Lord. He is by your side; take the next step and see what He has in store for you.