I truly wish I could pray myself out of this flare, but unfortunately, I think I will need to put in a little effort. A reminder of this came as I was reading through Exodus the other day.
The backstory of this passage is that Pharaoh has just relented and freed the Israelites from Egypt. The Israelites have journeyed into the wilderness and camped by the Red Sea and Pharaoh starts to regret his decision to let the Israelites go, losing all his free labor. The Lord hardens Pharaoh’s heart and he begins to pursue the Israelites who are trapped by the Red Sea.
We all know how the story ends. The Lord separates the red sea, the Israelites pass through unscathed, and the Egyptians are crushed and carried away as the sea returns to its normal state. But this passage right before the Egyptians arrive made me stop and think about balancing between two steps when we find ourselves in difficult places.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” Exodus 14:13-16
Deliverance from any trial is always from the Lord. Healing will come from God and God alone. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how much you try, or how smart you are; healing or improvement will only come as God plans and allows.
Spurgeon makes this comment on standing firm and waiting for the Lord before we move forward:
When a Christian is in very sharp trouble, one of his strongest temptations is to be in an unbelieving, fretful state of agitation, which leads him to premature and unwise action… We must be doing something at once—we must do it so we think—instead of looking to God, who will not only do something but who will do everything. Many of us when in a strait are hardly reasonable in our hasty endeavors. Fear blindfolds the judgment, and makes fools of us. Why is there any need of such speedy leaping—why not stand still and look? Are all means gone for ever if not snatched at in an instant? Will the Lord’s arm grow short if I wait his time?
So yes, I am praying and waiting for God’s deliverance. I am standing firm as I look and see what God will do, what he has planned and in store for me. I am seeking to avoid the fretful agitation that Spurgeon describes and simply hold strong in the moment, planning my next move forward as God leads me.
But at some point, moving on, moving forward is a must. Yes God delivers, but as we cry out to him, sometimes he says to us, “Why are you crying out to me? Move on.” The Israelites cried out to the Lord for deliverance, they waited for him to save them, and perhaps God spoke these words because they were unwisely just sitting unmoved as the Egyptians rushed towards them. This is not wise; waiting only at this time and in this situation was not faith but stupidity.
Moving out of flares is always hard work. It requires pain, effort, tears, and an unwavering dedication to the things that slowly but surely, over days, weeks, and months, move me out of these levels of pain.
So that is my plan for these next weeks. I am standing firm and moving forward. I am waiting and planning, looking and acting. Knowing God will save, but following his words to “move on.”