One year ago this week (March 2, 2016) Jason and I signed papers for the next phase of our infertility journey.
I might not have remembered this exact day, except that I documented it in my Bible. I (almost) read through the whole Bible last year, and am doing it again this year with Jason – although we realized it may take us 2 years at the pace we are going.
A week ago, we approached Exodus 13. God had just freed the Israelites from being slaves in Egypt. As we read it, I saw a note in the margin and was reminded of how the Lord also lead Jason and me in a round-about way to where we were in that moment.
The Scripture says:
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. – Exodus 13:17-18
The Lord knew that leading the Israelites by the way of the Philistines (the enemy) would be shorter and more direct. But it would not be the best for the people – their faith was perhaps not as strong and not ready for that experience. So, God in his mercy lead them by the longer route, around the Enemy. At first, this seems so gentle and kind of God to care for His people by not giving them more than they could handle.
But what happens next? The RED SEA!?
Did God think that coming up on the Red Sea would not scare His people? Would going by the Enemy camp really have been that bad? Surely the Israelites could have at least fought their way through, whereas the Red Sea meant death. What was God thinking?
First, the Israelites didn’t even know that God led them away from the Enemy. God just did that without the people realizing. They weren’t even aware of His protection of them by leading them around. I’m so glad that this detail is included here for us to see how God works for us and for His glory in ways we don’t even know about!
Second, I think the best part of this is that God knew all along that He was bringing them to the Red Sea. It’s almost comical, because the people are so afraid and even angry by their arrival at the impassable water, but God is totally in control and of course was aware from the beginning of time that He would be leading them to this point.
How quickly we forget He lead them there. Therefore, it’s his ‘problem’ to figure out. Of course, it’s not a problem from God’s perspective, but rather a divine opportunity to show His power.
The text could have easily said, “God did not lead them by the way of the Enemy camp because they were not ready, in their own strength, to figure that out. And also that would not have brought God as much glory as the second option. So instead, God lead them to the Red Sea so that they would not even need to fight – instead the Lord would part the waters. Thus his people would be taken care of far better than they would have if they had to fight an Enemy AND He would receive all the glory.”
He is God after all.
As I read my note from last year, and as I think about all the movements the Lord lead us through getting from there to where we are now, I can’t help but acknowledge His wisdom and His goodness to us.
Yet, the decisions of this past year were not made without struggle. And I know there will still be reacting and rebelling to different situations ahead of us. Unfortunately, we are not that different from the Israelites.
To be honest, both Jason and I have questioned God at different times along this journey and with different aspects of it. We have wondered about God’s plan. We have thought we knew better.
Thankfully, God is merciful and good and while He is with us in our struggle, he does not leave us there. Like with the Israelites, He has a plan that is far better for us, and will bring Him greater glory.
He leads us, guides us and ultimately parts the seas for us that we might see Him more clearly and acknowledge that He is God through it all.
As Jason and I are on the edge of becoming parents, my anxiety and worry has increased in anticipation of our future.
Still, even in my deepest fears, I am unable to forget God’s faithfulness to us.
I have documented much of our journey – primarily for those moments of doubt, those days of confusion, those nights of frustration.
To remember His presence has always been, and will always be with us, just like the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to guide the Israelites.
And just like he paved the way for the Israelites, even in the midst of their fear and doubt, He won’t stop leading, guiding and drawing us to Himself today.
His plans for us are good, and we can trust Him.
*After writing this post, I heard this song, and it's become a favorite to mark this season in my life*