Deliver Us!From Israel we drove across the barren Sinai to Cairo Egypt. More land covered with thick, hot sand for thousands of years; the very sands that the Children of Israel (some of my favorite people), once trekked through. I have read and studied the Old Testament so much that I love these people. Now, having walked through this sand, having felt the blistering sun on my head, and the hot desert wind across my face I feel as if I know them a little better. And my spirit feels connected to their spirit in a way it will never forget.
It is a powerful spiritual experience to walk where Moses walked. He is one of my heroes. The Prophet Brigham Young once said that he would have “crawled around the earth on [his] hands and knees to meet someone like Moses who could tell [him] anything about God and heaven.” (In Journal of Discourses, 8:228.)
From Moses and the deliverance of the Children of Israel I have learned great lessons about God and heaven. And now, here I was at the Red Sea. The very spot this epic event occurred! Here is one of the greatest miracles of all time: most talked about, most reenacted, most wondered about… In this great miracle, this momentous act, this grand- supernatural event we learn very sweet and tender lessons.
First, the sobering truth is that during our lives we will experience adversity, opposition, and darkness. We will face our own Pharaohs. We will have our own Red Seas to cross. As I stood on the edge of this great sea and looked out over the water I felt the panic the Israelites must have felt. I imagined their fear as they turned to see the army of Pharaoh behind them! Moses and the Children of Israel were faced with a great emergency!
I dipped my toes in the water. It was nice and cool. The sun was warm on my face. My mind continued to imagine the Israelites. They were trapped! There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and a lot of water immediately ahead. What would I have done? Like the Israelites, I have sometimes found myself feeling “trapped” by challenges and struggles. There have even been times I have felt like there is no escape.
Moses needed help! The Children of Israel needed help! And I have needed help before. I have learned is that the “Red Sea” will open to the honest seeker.
I rolled up my pants and stepped into the water. It felt cooler on my calves. I wondered if it would feel even cooler still if I jumped all the way in! The gravel was smooth on my feet and the water was refreshing. I splashed my feet around and allowed my imagination to slip away again to the Children of Israel. What would it have been like? What fears would have entered my heart? I heard the faint echoes of men murmuring, babies crying and mothers praying. And then the Spirit whispered to me and I remembered what Moses had said to them “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” I love that!
Another beautiful lesson learned. When we have trials, when we face our Pharaohs, when we have Red Seas to cross: Do not be afraid! Be still and see the hand of the Lord in your life.
The next lesson that comes in the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea is, if God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you: He will provide the way for you to accomplish it. The Lord not only told Moses what to do: “You’re going to cross this sea.” He told him HOW to do it… “lift up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it”. (Ex 14:16)
I can imagine my thought process if the Lord had been working with me that frightening night. “Ok Lord, you want us to cross this sea. So, I know what you want me to do. I know how you want me to do it –lift my rod. But, still, my weak mortal self cannot part that sea! I simply, humanly cannot do it!” Then comes the next mighty lesson, and perhaps my favorite: The Lord will give us power to accomplish whatever it is we need to do! “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back…” (Ex 14:21) It is an eternally compelling yet powerfully personal principle.
I was completely lost in my daydreams. My feet were wet and cool. The edges of my pants were damp. My face was warm and the fresh sea air filled my lungs. I could have stayed for hours. One of the greatest miracles of all time occurred in this very place! I imagined great walls of water towering above. I imagined the fish and whales swimming along. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the Israelites to take that first step into the water and the muddy ground with darkness surrounding them, wind blowing, and mists of sea splashing their faces. And then, I remembered the fabulous Dreamworks animated movie ‘Prince of Egypt’. I remembered, as I stood in the Red Sea that day, taking my children to see that movie. As we watched the frightened Israelites follow Moses across the sea I leaned over to my son Jaren, who was about 4 years old at the time, and I said ““Oh, Jaren, would that be scary to follow Moses into that water?” And he looked at me and said with all the faith and confidence of a child “No! He’s the prophet!”
And so, I remembered the great lesson that I was taught by my four year old son. The last great lesson we learn from this moving miracle. We must have faith because He WILL deliver us! “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians.” (Ex 14:30)
He saved Israel and He will save us. He will deliver us! Whatever challenges and struggles we may have. Whatever Pharaohs we must face, whatever Red Seas we must cross. He will deliver us!