A Way Through the Sea…
Your road led through the sea,
Your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there.
Psalm 77:19 NLT
Probably the most difficult challenge to our faith since the onset of the coronavirus is not being able to see ahead, to know what’s coming, to have some sense of predictableness about our future. Most of us feel as if we are definitely in uncharted waters and that flies in the face of our natural bent to see around the next corner and be able to maintain control over our own lives. No one feels comfortable in circumstances ranging beyond one’s own control and what we are presently experiencing has the eerie sense that we could easily be facing the end of life as we have always known it.
It is circumstances like these that always usher me back to the Psalms of David. I have always been impressed with his honesty before the Lord and the willingness to pour his heart out to God. He never failed to uphold the true character of God while consistently taking responsibility for his own failings. Recently it was in Psalm 77 that I found tremendous encouragement and hope. Although not a Psalm of David, it conveys the same tenor and spirit of the Davidic Psalms. It is likely this particular Psalm came from the time of the Babylonian captivity and so we can imagine the feeling and heart of those singing this refrain. To have been militarily defeated and then deported as captives to a strange land and culture would leave most people utterly reeling and maybe wondering where the God of their ancestors was in the whole scenario.
In this passage the psalmist begins with the bemoaning of one rejected and forgotten but readily transitions to the recollections of the promises and providences of God (vv. 11, 12). For me, the most significant remembrance of this psalmist was recalling how God supernaturally provided a way through the Red Sea as Egypt was in hot pursuit of the escaping Israelites. In this situation, Israel was bound by mountains and a pursuing army behind and the Red Sea before them. And then the seeming impossible happened, a way opened to them through the sea and they crossed over on dry ground.
This is the kind of omnipotent and merciful God we serve. He wants to bring us into that relationship with himself wherein he can show himself mighty on our behalf—a relationship of absolute faith, belief and trust that wonderfully frees the hand of God to act magnanimously on our behalf.
I would like to share a very recent personal experience wherein I believe with all my heart that God was “prophesying” the miraculous walk we are going to be having with him as we learn to utterly abandon ourselves to him, trusting not in the things of this world but solely in him. My wife and I went to Lowes to purchase softener salt. I was concerned that it could be one of those items in short supply and possibly already being rationed. Upon entering the store I proceeded to ask an employee for assistance in finding the salt. This man didn’t know but he connected with a second individual who looked it up and gave us the exact location all the way across the store. Rather than sending me on my way with that information, the original employee led us all the way to that aisle and to the salt. We were elated to discover that the softener salt was there in abundance and without any prescribed limits.
While traversing the store to the salt I was thinking about the need for a flatbed cart that would handle several hundred pounds of salt. Once we got to the salt, lo and behold, sitting right there in front of the salt was the very device we needed. As I began to load the 40 lb. bags onto the cart, two more employees show up and insisted on doing the chore for me. This was indeed a welcome offer given the trouble I have with my back. They commenced to load up approximately 500 lbs. of salt and then took the cart to the nearest checkout. As I was going through that procedure, getting the military discount and putting the charge on my Lowes’ card, there was some kind of glitch getting the transaction completed. Ultimately, three different clerks worked on the sale to resolve the issue with the third one meeting with success. All three could not have been more patient and willing to help me and conquer the problem before them.
While we were involved in this process at the checkout, another entirely different employee arrived asking if he could take the salt out to my truck for me and load it! By this time I was utterly amazed in how blessed I was from the first I stepped into the store. The last attendant rolled the cart to my truck and cheerfully loaded 12 heavy bags aboard. The only downside in the whole scenario was my inability to talk him into coming home with me to unload.
I believe God was showing me a simple illustration of what he is prepared to do in principle for his Kingdom children as we face the unknown and potentially dark days ahead. No matter how dire the circumstances we may encounter, God always has a “road through the sea, a pathway through the mighty waters.” Our part is to faithfully remember the promises and providences of God. Israel of old was always urged to faithfully recount God’s wonderful deeds to their children that they might in turn share the same with the next generation. It is a wonderful and spiritually profitable exercise to periodically take time to recall in your own life all the times you experienced the incredible providence of God. Think about all those experiences where God’s presence changed circumstances from disaster to victory. Many times this happens in ways other than our particular choosing but always redounds to our benefit spiritually.
Nothing is more faith building in the face of trials and testing than remembering the mercy, grace and goodness of God through his providing a way through the mighty waters, “…a pathway no one knew was there.”