Here we are.
We didn’t imagine we’d be here.
We envisioned an entirely different future – for ourselves, for our children, for our extended family, for our friends, for this whole, big-and-wide world.
Yet, with each passing month of our pandemic life, my husband, John and I realize that we will be here far much longer than we ever anticipated.
As I have shared before, we wonder if we will ever be able to return to South Africa. And honestly, if we are not able to hop continents anytime soon, what does this mean for our family? In both the short-term and long-term in terms of our purpose and calling in Jesus Christ?
In recent weeks, I have felt like we are engaged in an invisible, hard-to-pinpoint-and-articulate war for the direction of our lives.
Thrust into an imponderable battle of thought, John and I are barraged with questions about our present-day, pandemic-life circumstances. In addition, the future offers little insight regarding the critical decisions we must make as a family. Do we have any assurance for what will be in the best interests of our family for now or in the future?
What step should we take?
I imagine Joshua, the man chosen to be the next leader of the Israelite nation, may have felt similar thoughts as he was charged with taking his people forward into an unknown land and unknown future. Add to this reality that the Israelites would not be welcome there. Battles lay beyond the wet, pebbly path that would take them through the river, Jordan. Moses may have sensed Joshua’s hesitancy.
Moses reassured him,
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”
New International Version, Deuteronomy 3:22
Moses called to memory another time when the LORD had fought for the nation of Israel. As the chariots of Pharaoh raced mercilessly towards the vulnerable, infant nation which had escaped slavery’s harness, the people panicked. How could they not? The Red Seas waves shackled their feet. In their finite understanding, the sea currents offered little hope of salvation. In minutes, they would be besieged by the war chariots of Pharaoh and doomed to death or enslavement. At this dangerous precipice, Moses shouted to the people:
“Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
New International Version, Exodus 14: 13-14
Moses didn’t know how God would help in this unimaginable situation as the nation was trapped between ravaging chariot and raging sea. However, Moses was certain that God would act and extend his saving, grace-giving hand.
Moses encouraged the people to do two difficult things in the middle of this chaotic moment. It would be a demanding, but necessary stance to take in developing and strengthening their relationship of trust.
First off, Moses asked the people to release their fears into the hands of their God.
Second, Moses beseeched the people to stand still upon the seashore. As they held their peace, and waited, they would experience the salvation of their God.
Fear tempts us to retreat from perceived threat.
Impatience prods and provokes us to impulsive action.
As horses and chariots charged towards them with horrific vengeance, the Israelites stood their ground.
They didn’t know God’s plan.
They didn’t know God’s purpose.
They didn’t know God’s timing.
They couldn’t even begin to imagine God’s future for them.
But as they stood, as they trusted, the way of salvation was revealed.
The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes….
New International Version, Deuteronomy 1:30
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.
New International Version, Deuteronomy 20:1
For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
New International Version, Deuteronomy 20:4
As Joshua stepped towards the land of promise, Moses reminded him of God’s faithfulness in previous battles and hardships. This was not the time for Joshua to take the fight into his own hands. Waging war in our own strength, with our own intellect, and from the depth of our own emotions will be futile. Because in truth, the battles, conflicts, and decisions we face are not merely physical, emotional or intellectual, but spiritual. Moses understood this reality. He encouraged Joshua to trust in his God for the battle’s victorious result.
We can trust in God to fight for us, too.
Our God is known by many significant, powerful names. One of his names is Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah. Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah means The LORD is Mighty in Battle.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle – Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah.
New International Version, Psalm 24:8
Our God is one who possesses amazing, great, infinite power. He performs acts of salvation. He can alter and control time and circumstance. He is our Deliverer.
We may not know God’s plan – yet.
We may not know God’s purpose – yet.
We may not know God’s timing – yet.
We may not be able to imagine God’s future for us – yet.
But, what can we do?
We can hold our peace.
We can stand and wait.
We can trust in our God to fight for us by His own might and power and love – right where we are and for what we need today and in the future until the way of salvation is revealed.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will quiet you in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
New International Version, Zephaniah 3:17
We may not know what is next in this pandemic life of ours as we stand with our back to the Red Sea and see any number of worries and dangers ahead. Yet, we can be like Joshua. We can be like Moses. We can remember the Lord’s care and faithfulness to us in the past and stand our ground today in resolute trust. We can trust our Lord to fight our battles for direction, for purpose and for calling and wait for His assuring revelation.
What battle do you need the Lord to fight for you?
He is Mighty to Save.
As an encouragement, here is a song of inspiration to help you remember that your God is with you to help you, save, you and deliver you….