- Devastated by a consultation with our doctor that began with, "I don't know how to tell you this, but..."
- Despondent because the divorce papers we hold in our hands confirm that the spouse we longed to grow old with doesn't love us anymore.
- Doubting the existence of God because the dark cloud of depression that hangs over our soul has blocked all feelings of love.
- Desperate because bills are due and we have no idea how to pay them.
- Disheartened because our grown children are making choices that we know will only result in pain.
Centuries ago, the Israelites found themselves in a seemingly hopeless predicament. After being released from captivity in Egypt they thought they were home free, in the literal sense.
God had promised them a new place to live--a land described in the book of Exodus as a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. That metaphor suggests a place of pure enjoyment, a vibrant and fertile land. The Hebrew word used for flowing comes from a verb which is best translated, to gush. After years of gut-wrenching hardship, the people of Israel were looking forward to a life of joy and blessing, with God's goodness gushing all over them.
But those dreams were dashed the instant they heard the muffled sounds of galloping horses in the distance. Pharoah had rethought his decision to let God's people go and his mighty army was now in hot pursuit.
There was no conceivable way the people of Israel could escape their predicament. They were unarmed. They were on foot. They couldn't outrun Egypt's finest chariots. And cementing the hopelessness of the situation was that there before them, stretched out as far as they could see, was the Red Sea.
They had nowhere to turn--except to God. And God, as He is want to do when His kids are in trouble, answered their pleas. And His response was not,
- Sorry, I didn't notice.
- You're on your own.
- You'd better come up with a plan quick.
- There's no possible way out of this. Or,
- You're doomed.
Take note of God's reply to His people found in Exodus 14. He encouraged,
- Don't be afraid.
- Stand firm.
- I will fight for you.
- I will deliver you.
- Stand still and watch what I can do.
An important detail in this story is that Israel's predicament was not the result of bad choices. The Israelites were not in this quandary because they didn't follow God, but because they did. So why would God put His beloved children in such a quandary? It was so that He could show them His glory.
He longs to do the same with you and me. He invites us to call on Him in times of trouble. He encourages us to stand firm. To not be afraid. To remember that there is nothing that God and us together can't handle.
Sometimes the best thing we can do when we find ourselves overwhelmed by life's circumstances is to simply be still. For in the stillness of our souls we will find that we have no reason to fear. God is with us. The battles we face aren't even ours, they're His. He has a handle on any and every situation we may face.
With God in control, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation.