Fighting through the Red Zone and the Red Sea

What does it mean to be silent and watch God fight for His children? To Israel that meant watching Him use His awesome creation and power to part the Red Sea and kill the leaders of Egypt so they could learn what it means to be free, just by walking through. To our family it meant years of seeking God for wisdom in prayer on how to parent our oldest son through the Red Sea of his physical body and mind. Israel had years of preparation to get to the magnum opus event of God’s power displayed through water as way of escape. We toiled over the slavery of our son’s brain in his short five-year lifespan. Daily I struggled, trapped in my own worries, fears, and guilt as a devoted mom battling in prayer aware of my inability to free him.

For over two years my petitions were the words of Exodus 14:13–15:“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.” I wrote it on an index card and underlined the words: fear not, stand firm, the Lord. “Salvation” demanded a bold blue box around it and “will fight” was underlined twice so strongly that you could see imprints of the demand through the back of the card.

Those three words were the plea of my heart. I prayed, cried out, surrendered most mornings saying, “God, will you fight for our son? Give us wisdom. Help us.” For a while God’s response was reserved but not complete silence. The Lord carried us through all the red zone, panicked, incoherent, uncontrollable daily meltdowns- (similar to the terror the Israelites had as Egypt marched after them). Rites of passage like potty training took 11 months, bath time splashing were emotional hurricanes and brushing teeth was pulling fear from his belly. After adding two other sons to our base camp, and some outpatient therapies, it was confirmed at his 5 year well check that what we were fighting was not normal.

The physician assistant watched as he was unable to stand on the scale to measure his weight. The measuring tape on the wall required him to stand tall, straight, and under the stick that protruded out of the wall like a sword to his mind. I never found out his weight or height that day, but the reaction of the doctors and nurses said “Mom, the magnitude of your love is deeper than you realize.” I believed there had to be more. Things couldn’t be this hard all the time. Our son had become more enslaved to his mind as each year passed.

His mind is beautiful. He can memorize anything. He memorizes license plates, interstate maps, and street addresses. He learned his letters while playing in the bath tub at 18 months in two inches of water. He learned to read three letter words at 3 1/2 years old. But he couldn’t look you in the eye. He couldn’t hear you to follow simple instructions without a 5 second delay. He couldn’t carry a bag of picture books to the van as the weight was too heavy for his brain to manage. He couldn’t stand under a measuring stick. We didn’t have our son and we wanted him. So we prayed. We read. We studied. We taught. We fought.

The Lord fought for Israel. The beginning of Exodus describes how Israel came to Egypt. God brought them there through famine and the hatred of brothers. God used suffering to get them to Egypt, but used His strength and power to lead to worship and hope in Him. Joseph was Jacob’s son, of which he had 11 others. His brothers hated him, sold him, and betrayed him. For Israel to get to Egypt they had to go through the story and mercy of God shared through affliction and fruitfulness of Joseph. He was bought by the Ishmaelites and they took him to Egypt. The rest of the family remained in Canaan. Joseph had to get to Egypt in order for Jacob to get to Egypt, so that Israel would be set free from slavery and become their own nation years later. This was God’s design. This was God fighting for them in affliction that led to hope in the One True God. This was the path the Lord chose for them. God chose a similar path for us to get to our Red Sea. All we had to do was walk through it and in it once we got there.

“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13–14)