::: Red Sea ::: And the treasure of this darkness was the glory in the gap.
“Your way was THROUGH the sea, your path THROUGH the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” – Psalm 77:19 “And I will lead the blind in a way they have not known, I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground…” – Isaiah 42: 16 “FEAR NOT, for I have called you by NAME, you are mine. When you pass THROUGH the waters, I will be with you; and THROUGH the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” – Isaiah 43: 1-2 —
It was February 2019. I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, and a subtle realization came over me. I was going down what Ellie Holcomb calls the Red Sea Road. He was holding my hand, and pulling me down this road, though I was too terrified to look back, and too afraid to open my eyes and look forward. It was like the Sun had been blocked off, because the wall of waves on my left and right — which stood high and mighty on either side of my shoulders — were dark and stormy and seemingly about to crash on me and consume me. It was a dark watery road, and I had no idea what was on the other side. I was shaking, cold, and could feel the cold spray of the waves coming off the walls and giving me the chills on my shoulders. But, I was there, and I knew He had taken me there.
The point of the darkness is not that you can’t see ahead; the point is that you can’t lead yourself out.
There’s only one way out – and that is THROUGH. And there is only One person who can safely lead you out, because He was the only One who split the sea in the first place. Do you think he led you into the hollow of the Red Sea Road to only cave in on you? Of course not. And the treasure of this darkness was the glory in the gap. The gap between who you were back in Egypt, and who He was taking you ahead and out to become…well, you don’t know yet.
Madeline L’Engle says, “We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.” The treasure in the darkness is the realization that the only way to become more than you are is to surrender to His hand on your shoulder, your heart, and believe He is all you need to get you through. I craved seeing ahead. I craved the light. I hated being blind. I looked to my left and right, and cringed. The waves were going to crash on me, I just knew it. I was going to be consumed by the waves and darkness and terror of night and sorrow and disappointment and loneliness. I was filled with pessimism, defeat, doubt. I wanted to hold up my white flag and surrender and just die. That would be easier in a way. When you are in the dark spots of life, you don’t see treasures. You feel tortured, afraid, scared. You feel tried. You feel shaky and foolish. You don’t have treasures in your hand. Even the daytime can feel dark at times.
So how do we find these treasures? Even Moses faced the darkness. When God’s glory passes over him, God tells Moses to hid in the cool clef of the rock, and to let His glory pass by, because even Moses couldn’t face His glory. He couldn’t SEE it. But, God let Him feel it — and the glory in that gap was God’s very presence. Moses says, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15) We cannot always see God’s face, but He invites us into the cleft of that Rock. We cannot always see where the Red Sea Road is taking us, but He invites us to keep walking forward. By not going back to Egypt, He calls us down the road of His promised land ahead. But you have to be willing to let go. In the Bible, a woman looked back – against God’s wishes – and she turned into a pillar of salt. Who wants to die that way?! This was a unique circumstance, but the point is that God takes Himself as our Guide and Shepherd seriously. If He wanted us to go back, I’m pretty sure He was turn us around. But, just because He puts you in the cleft of the Rock, doesn’t mean He is withholding the goodness of His glory from you. He knows exactly what you can handle and see and feel. Just because He splits the Red Sea, and creates a hedge of protection around you on either side, doesn’t mean what lies on the other side of those wall of waves would be good for you — in fact, what lies on either side of those waves were the Egyptians chasing the Israelites.
What is haunting you from your past? What is chasing after you, like the Egyptians? Do you think this will be good for you, or can you be honest with yourself and realize that perhaps, it would actually destroy you? Maybe you don’t even know what would have destroyed you. You just need to believe that God protected you from something, and He is asking you to drop it, and leave it behind.
We are only given an earthly glimpse of His glory in the gap. Someday, in heaven, perhaps He’ll reveal more to us about what was actually sitting in that gap of time, that gap in the relationship, that gap in your barrenness, that gap in the loss of life, that gap in the perplexing rejection and silence, that gap in a horrific loss and tragedy. But we are not always given the God-only vision that He must handle and see FOR us while He carries us THROUGH. He is committed to His own glory, not because He is selfish or greedy or a liar — but because in His perfect wisdom, He wants to lead us into the full, beautiful vision and wide field of promise that He has for us ahead in the Promised Lands of our Lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad God tells us to hide our face and eyes in the cleft of the Rock while His glory passes by — He is so holy, so other, so not like us, I’m not sure what I would or could dare to see! I just feel His presence, and I know He is in that place of my soul, because I feel the warmth of His glory sweeping over me, though I am blind to actually facing it. Do you believe He will lead you to the other side?
My dear friend, Row, looked at me the other day as I cried with her about a particularly disappointing situation I was facing, and she smiled and said, “Em, He will lead you to the other side. And on the other side is pure Joy.” When we are faced with crossing a Red Sea, the question we must ask ourselves is not Where am I going, but Who is going with me?
Friends, it is Jesus! It is your Savior. It is the One who commands the winds and the waves. Psalm 46 says, “Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the Sea, though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.” God is IN your midst. Not only will He not let the waves be moved, He will not let your heart be moved into anxiety and fear. He stands before us, calls us by name, and asks us to go through the waters with Him. He promises you that He will bring you through safely. Why? Because the God of Jacob is your Fortress. The rough places in our lives are pretty much just that – rough. You don’t need to deny that. It can be anything. It is rough, and you’re afraid, and you are a bruised reed that is afraid it just might break you. But friend, He will not break you — you will not snap, because He is holding you and will take that rough place and turn it into level ground.
Maybe like me you’ve experienced heart-ache after heart-ache. Loss after loss. Disappointment after disappointment. Ellie Holcomb sings, “When He asks us to go on How do we go on?”
“We will sing, to our souls We won’t bury our hope Where He leads us to go There’s a red sea road When we can’t, see the way He will part the waves And we’ll never walk alone Down a red sea road How, can we trust When You say You will deliver us, from All, of this pain, that threatens to take over us Well, this desert’s dry But the ocean may consume And we’re scared, to follow You So we will sing, to our souls We won’t bury our hope Where He leads us to go There’s a red sea road When we can’t, see the way He will part the waves And we’ll never walk alone Down a red sea road.”
Friends, stand still, hold your ground, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you if you let Him (Exodus 14). Breakthrough is coming. And you are not going no-where. You ARE going THROUGH it to the other side. And You will see His glory pass by you.