Dwelling in Possibility – One Word 2013
I’ve a confession. Here goes. I’m not always… an optimist. I’d like to say I’m a realist and not pessimistic. I’d like to say that, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth.
Why? You may be wondering. I’ve often asked myself that question and the best answer I can come up with is that when circumstances have seemed to kick you to the curb often enough, you begin watching for the next shoe to fall, instead of keeping chin to sky to watch for rainbows.
I remember a conversation with a friend of mine in college. It ended with her saying, “I just can’t wait to see what God’s going to do next!” I vaguely remember her jumping up and down in excitement. Now, I didn’t want to discourage my friend, so I said nothing at the time, just smiled and nodded my head. The head inside of which were swirling the many scenarios that could have ended, in my opinion, rather poorly.
I was well acquainted with the reality that God doesn’t promise us a rose garden. No… He promises us He’ll always be there, never forsaking us even in the worst of circumstances.
We can count on Him. And, I knew that to be true.
But I’m ashamed to say, it didn’t stop me when I was alone from shaking my head in mild agitation over her seemingly blind cheery excitement. I genuinely loved my friend and I hoped and prayed for the best possible outcome for her situation.
My One Word & Learning from the Israelites
The memory of that conversation came to mind while contemplating my One Word for the year – DWELL. I’ve come to the sad realization that unlike my friend, I don’t always dwell in possibility. I trust God to be there, but a part of me is stuck on the knowledge that really anything can happen. Such a sorry state.
Then, while reading Exodus I came across this:
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, ‘The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war.’ So He led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness.“ Exodus 13:17 (HCSB)
Did you catch that?
God knew. He knew all along after leading the Israelites out of Egypt, rather triumphantly, I might add, that if they had to face war, they’d go running back to Egypt…to slavery.
He knew. And out of His great love and compassion for them, He didn’t want them to be overcome with fear, running back to a life of enslavement.
So, rather than having them take the shortest, most direct route to Canaan, He led them around the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness.
Then, He instructed Moses to lead the Israelites on a specific route, one that would land them in a very tight spot.
“ ‘Pharaoh will say of the Israelites: They are wandering around the land in confusion; the wilderness has boxed them in. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.’ So the Israelites did this.”
Exodus 14:3-4 (HCSB)
God knew that if Pharaoh saw them there, he’d assume they were confused and had mistakenly boxed themselves in by the wilderness and the sea.
An enticing scenario. One that Pharaoh and the Egyptians just couldn’t walk away from. They’d spur on to overtake them.
God never explains His plan to Moses, just that Pharaoh will pursue them, God will receive glory and the Egyptians will know that He is Yahweh.
I’m sure we all know the story from here. God hardens the Egyptians’ hearts that they indeed race toward the Israelites.
Then just in time, God does the unimaginable…He parts the Red Sea.
And the Israelites walk to the other side on dry ground, walls of water shimmering on either side of them.
What a sight. What an experience.
Now I’m guessing that in their wildest imaginings while “trapped,” not one of them thought: “Well, of course. God will part the Red Sea and then we’ll just stroll on through, before the water crushes together again sweeping the entire Egyptian army away. No problem.”
Yet, that’s exactly what happened. And afterwards, they rejoiced. I would, too, most definitely.
Israel was in the “in-between” here. And God knew.
He intentionally placed them carefully in a spot where they knew they were in between a rock and a hard place or should I say, a sea and an army, with nowhere to run.
He allowed them to be in a place where their circumstances screamed, “It’s impossible.”
But God had a plan all along. And it included the illusion of being trapped, but He already had a way out. A way of deliverance. Victory was there, even if they couldn’t see it.
How about you? Are you in the “in-between” right now? Facing circumstances that appear murky?
I understand, I’ve felt that way, too.
And I want more than anything to look for the positive, like my sweet college friend. To live…no…to dwell in expectation of what God will do.
He has a plan.
It’s my job to follow Him. Obey Him. Trust Him.
Even when we can’t see beyond the wilderness and sea surrounding us, maybe, just maybe, we’ve been placed there out of His love for us, that we, like Israel, wouldn’t have to face something even greater, a battle that would perhaps overcome and ensnare us.
And, we might just be standing on the cusp of Him doing something beyond our wildest imaginations.
We all choose to dwell somewhere.
Why not dwell in the possible with a God for whom nothing is impossible?
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DWELL logo compliments of Melanie at onlyabreath.com