“How can I pray for you today?”
“I’m praying for a Red Sea moment.”
In yesterday’s “Be still” post, I talked about God’s immediate response to parting the Red Sea when the Israelites were in dire need of rescue.
Specifically, Moses said, “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.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
And, immediately following, the Lord reached out to Moses and—through Moses’ faith and obedience—parted the Red Sea. He gave the Israelites the breakthrough they had been desperate for.
He parted the Red Sea.
If we fully grasped the reality of who God is, I don’t think we’d be so calm.
Get a glass of water. Set it in front of you.
Now using only your mind and hands, split the water into two vertical parts, leaving a completely dry strip across the diameter of the glass.
Spoiler alert: You can’t.
Except instead of something as small as a glass, He sent wind to split the Red Sea into two parts with a dry strip from end to end for the Israelites to cross.
Let’s put this in perspective.
The Red Sea is 221 miles wide and ~1,610 feet deep.
Nobody knows exactly where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and some experts try to speculate that it was a nearby lake, etc. that they crossed and not the sea itself.
However, given what historical evidence we have, the smallest likely crossing would have been the Gulf of Aqaba. It’s a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Even this smallest possible crossing point is 15 miles wide and 6,070 feet (over a mile!) deep.
You couldn’t create a dry strip in a glass a couple inches wide and deep.
God immediately created a dry strip of land in the midst of a sea that was 15 miles wide and over a mile deep.
Think about it.
Since this miraculous element of God is hard to grasp, we as Christians often fall into two traps:
1) A god who can’t make it happen.
In this first scenario, we often try to bring God down to our level, instead of acknowledging that He operates at a level and in ways far beyond our understanding. We start to intuitively and perhaps even unknowingly ascribe to Him human attributes, like the ability to be in only one place at one time.
C.S. Lewis addresses this tendency in the Screwtape Letters: “I have known cases where the patient called his ‘God’ was actually located to the left and at the corner of the bedroom ceiling, or only inside his own head.” (Screwtape, speaking to Wormwood)
We stop seeing him as the almighty and start to see Him as “limited”. This directly affects our ability to trust in Him. If we limit our perspective of who God is to just what we can understand, we start to put Him in a box of our own manufacturing.
We start to think logically. We perhaps still pray about big things, but also start to work on our own contingency plans. Maybe even praying to Him about these things becomes an afterthought instead of the main approach.
On the other end of the spectrum, this scenario could cause us to limit Him to the god of stoplights and subways and small things don’t really matter. It may be, “Oh God, please help this stoplight to change…now!” or some such thing.
Now, don’t misunderstand me – praying about stoplights and subways is perfectly great. In fact, God wants us to go to Him with everything. But falling into a flippant mentality because we have put Him in a box, or don’t wield prayer as the weapon it should be in our lives—that’s when we’ve got trouble.
2) A god who can’t relate
The other scenario is that we don’t understand how God could be so mighty and mysterious, and yet really care about us. Really care about you and me. There are 7 billion people on this planet. We can think of Him as the divine, almighty ruler of the macro level, but don’t trust Him to control the micro.
We mistake our inability to comprehend all that He is as a sign that He doesn’t care about all that we are as individuals.
We adopt a sense of reverence without the balance of relationship.
We start following the steps of a religion, without falling into the step of a walk with Him.
And this perceived inability to relate or disinterest of God in our lives manifests itself as a seed of distrust. You can’t trust someone you don’t know, and feel doesn’t know you.
Both of these traps limit His ability to work, and our ability to realize the full love, depth, and mystery of the Savior towards us.
The fix? Change your thinking.
I want to tell you a secret: God laughs.
Not this pious, deep, frowning “huh.” That’s not even a real laugh.
I’m talking about the kind of laugh that starts as a grin, then spreads across the entire face, lights up the eyes, and emerges in this loud, hearty expression of amusement. The kind where He puts one hand on the wall and one on His belly to steady Himself after laughing so hard. The kind where He wipes away the tears from the corners of his eyes and then says, “Okay kid, that was pretty good.”
I think He enjoys making us laugh. He enjoys bringing us happiness (Job 8:21), He has miraculous plans for our lives, and for our place in the Kingdom (Jeremiah 29:11), AND He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
He is a God beyond our understanding. He is a God that makes all else tremble. He is a God who is capable of anything.
He is on our side. He loves us. He is for us.
And, we can trust Him completely with all of our plans, and all of our being.
We serve a God of “Red Sea moments”.