Lessons to Learn Between Turning Back and Moving on
Trusting God’s promises
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.’” Exodus 14: 1-2 (NIV).
When was the last time you took a wrong turn and had to take a long way back?
My husband was driving me up to a two-day workshop. While he drove, I thought to go over a hundred million things I thought we needed to go over in my absence.
Sometime during our discussion, we missed the exit off of the highway.
This negligence cost us time and fuel, and not forgetting to mention. I was late for the workshop.
Thinking back, I remember feeling angry and foolish.
I felt upset with myself for stressing and chatting away about something that I had no control over once I was away from the kids. I felt unfaithful for not trusting my husband fully with the house and kids.
Mostly I doubted myself for signing up for a workshop. My brain was churning several reasons why I should not have signed up and why I was not capable and remotely ready to take up a challenge.
God wanted the Israelites to turn back too. Not that God had accidentally missed the exit sign, but He intentionally wanted them to go ahead and then turn back.
It must be hard to be like sheep and follow instructions and go back to the same place they had just been to. But, to my surprise, the Israelites did not complain and were rather compliant and followed without throwing any tantrums.
This was, however, short-lived when they saw the Egyptian soldiers coming after them.
How many times do we follow God’s leading without complaining or questioning His authority?
This had me thinking about how well in my personal life do I let God take the lead. How many times have I not tried to overrule His plans for me? How many times have I tried to submit to His will without a long list of questions? How many times have I stressed about things out of my control and suffered sleepless nights?
Intentionally or not, trying to take control of things is like a heavy load. Lifting it for longer puts your physical health in jeopardy. If you do not make amends to your lifestyle, you are prone to getting your back hurt for good.
As believers, the worst part for us is that we put our relationship with our Creator in jeopardy when we start doubting His presence in our lives.
God has other plans
Everything was going well. The Egyptians had finally let go of the Israelites, and they are on their way to the promised land. However, God had other plans.
It was just not a simple plan of escaping decades of slavery. It was also an opportunity to show all nations the true power and authority of the God of the Israelites. God wanted all nations and not just the Israelites, to remember this epic story of escape.
At the same time, He wanted to make the Israelites build their faith. He wanted them to feel that God had it planned even though it might seem like a terrible idea.
Are we any better than the Israelites?
We are no different from the Israelites. We are happy with our mediocre lives and have God in the background.
We rise to the next chance of a better life, believing that God sent it our way. So we avail the opportunity, but we start complaining and blaming as soon as we hit the smallest obstacles, just like the Israelites did with Moses and God.
In such moments, we hear God asking us to move on and not rely on worldly advocates.
Have you tried really hard for something, and nothing seems to make it work? The relationship that never flourished despite you investing in it deeply?
An organization you always wanted to work with but never had enough qualification or experience to get in? In these situations, did you ever get the feeling to drop these relationships and leave?
Did you hear a tiny voice in your head saying that it is time to explore other strengths that you might be gifted with and not just focus on that one particular job?
Did you put your trust in God and just moved on?
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.’” (Exodus 14:15, NIV).
It is interesting to see that this is just the opposite of what God asked the Israelites to do earlier.
God asks the Israelites to move on.
God wanted them to trust him fully. He wanted them to see that their living God was bigger than the problem they see. He wanted them to have faith and be ready for a miracle.
“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14: 14 (KJV).
For all the times we feel going about in circles and falling back to where we started from.
And for the times we have had to ditch everything, we might have worked so hard for things that we had hoped could turn out for the better but never did.
Feeling exhausted and wanting to quit. Yet, among all the chaos and lives battles, God is there extending His hands to take care of us. He is offering Himself to fight our battles. He is willing to take care of all our worries.
Even if nothing makes sense in life, His promises always remain concrete. We need not worry, for He is there to take up the fight for us. First, he will take our burdens and carry them for us. Then, he will relieve us of our baggage so we can walk freely.
In between the turning back and moving on, He promises to look after us.
He has proven to be faithful in ancient times, and He continues to do so.