Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Ghosts of Troubles Past

One of the most amazing stories in the Bible, hands down, has to be the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land.  Reading it again this morning, a verse struck me like it's never done before.

Exodus 14:30
"That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore."

When I read that today - I had an actual image flash in my mind.  A picture.  I just visited Egypt for the first time late in 2010 and we spent quite a bit of time following the coast of the Red Sea by bus on our journey from Taba to St. Catherine and so for the first time, I actually had some context.  And in my minds eye, I could visualize that shoreline littered with the bodies of Egyptians.

This is a very definitive ending to a dynamic deliverance from the hand of God.  The Israelites just the night before were whining about why God had brought them out into the desert and this morning, not only had they miraculously escaped the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea on dry land through the night, but they also were left a very powerful visual reminder of God's hand at work on their behalf...namely, the dead bodies of the Egyptians scattered along the shoreline. And vs. 31 tells us that in that moment, the people feared the Lord and put their TRUST in Him.  In the next chapter, they sing and dance and celebrate, but then, just three days later, they are grumbling and complaining again..this time about water.

So much for the powerful visual! It's like the ghosts of their Egyptian enemies had risen up to haunt them.  Their TRUST in God it seems, was situational and rather fleeting.

Why do we have such a hard time remembering? We aren't really all that different from the Israelites a lot of the time.  How many incredible things has God done for us in our lives? How often in my past can I point to moments in my life where I know that God intervened in a supernatural way, just as definitive as if I were to see my enemies lying dead along the shore?

And yet, the next major challenge or trial that came along had me worried and uptight and wondering what was going to happen next.  How quickly we can forget.  We allow the ghosts of past troubles to rise up and cultivate doubt and fear when instead we need to remember and revel in past victories and allow those memories to breed hope and encourage faith and trust in our Almighty God.

Lord, forgive me when trials seem to overtake me and doubt and fear crowd out my memory of all the amazing things You have done for me...and help me always to trust! I believe...help my unbelief.


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