(originally posted 10/18/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
Our pastor found out last Thursday that he has pancreatic cancer. I have sat at the feet of this man for the last three years in discipleship, and during this time he has not only been my mentor but became a father to me as well. He filled a great void that was left in me when my Pappaw passed in 2010. My Pappaw was really the only daddy I ever had. So the man I consider my friend, my mentor, my brother in Christ and my surrogate father has been diagnosed with a cancer that boasts the highest mortality rate of them all. As a church, we are still reeling from the news, humbling ourselves before God, crying out for His mighty hand of healing and deliverance. I have no doubt that God can heal our pastor, but if He doesn’t, He is still our God. He is still perfect in mercy, perfect in justice, perfect in loving-kindness and holiness. I ask for the prayers of all those who read this blog. I ask for your prayers as our church makes its way through this “Red Sea” moment. I am sharing the words I spoke to our church this morning during service to comfort and edify anyone else who may find themselves in their own Red Sea moment:
We now find ourselves faced with a “Red Sea” moment. Like the Israelites during the Exodus, we have reached an obstacle that is difficult and unexpected. God always knew where He was leading His people, but His people only knew what He had promised them. Therefore, imagine the surprise of the Israelites when they began their journey from Egypt based solely on their faith in God’s promises, only to end up face to face with an impassable sea of water, stopped dead in their tracks. They found themselves face to face with a test of their faith, whether they believed His promises would hold true for them no matter what the circumstances. They found themselves in a situation of whether to believe in what they could see, or to believe in what God had promised. What they could see was an impossible situation with no hope of deliverance, but deliverance was the very thing that God had promised them.
You see, God is not shaped by our circumstances, we are. Scripture says that God’s circumstances are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but it says that our circumstances liken us to grass, “and all [our] glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24,25)
The word of the Lord endures forever.
Our circumstances flower, fade and wither, but the word that we put our faith in, the word that we place our circumstances UPON, endures forever. That word is the ROCK of God’s promises. Jesus said that we are to be “like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” (Luke 6:48)
When we find ourselves in a Red Sea moment, a moment in which our circumstances force us to choose whether or not we truly believe God is trustworthy and faithful to deliver on His promises, that is when we find out how deep our foundation is and whether we have built our house on the rock or whether we have built our house on the sand. You see, it is during these Red Sea moments in which God asks us, “Do you really believe that My word will weather your circumstance?” “Do you believe that My word can endure your trial?” Although our trials and circumstances come as a surprise to us, they are no surprise to God. And because they are no surprise to God, we can rest in the fact that God already has a plan to carry us through it.
The word of the Lord is our enduring Rock, and the enduring word of the Lord says:
“His eyes are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together!
I sought the Lord and He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
Fear the Lord, you His holy people, for those who fear Him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34)
So, here we are at our Red Sea moment. We find ourselves face to face with an obstacle of such magnitude that we can’t see what lies on the other side. There is no way around this obstacle, therefore the only option is for us to go through it. Scripture tells us that when the Israelites found themselves facing their Red Sea moment, they cried out to God and God said, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” (Ex 14:15) God had a plan, but that plan couldn’t be realized until His people moved forward toward the promise He had already made them.
God used Moses’ faith to part the sea for the Israelites and God will use our faith to part the sea for us. As we cross through, the waves of uncertainty may crash all around us, but we shall hold fast to what IS certain, which is the cross of salvation and God’s promises to those who endure to the end. We WILL get to the other side. And when the dust settles and we look around, we will see all those who made it through, having been baptized in the waters of hope.
The scriptures say, “…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:24-28)
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom;” (Isaiah 40:11)