Red Sea Impossibilities

As I entered the doors of the local hospital emergency room, once again, several different thoughts came to my mind. This hospital, the corridors, the ritual of checking in, the nurses and even the food, had become familiar for many reasons.

It was just a little over a year ago that I had taken my father to the ER, accompanied by my mother. He had battled heart issues for years and this time his implanted defibrillator went off with such strength it rocked him to the core. Since he had tested positive for that irritating pandemic, COVID, he stayed in the hospital. During those days, his defibrillator went off so many times he simply wanted to quit. But he fought hard so he could come home to his family that awaited his return.

After COVID he battled pneumonia and won! Though he did come home for a time he returned to the hospital because he became infected with MRSA (an infection that is caused by a type of staph bacteria). The infection demanded intense antibiotics which caused kidney failure. Eventually, during the cool of the season, with the trees turning multi-colors (his favorite season) he came home to hospice care.

It would only be a few months later that we would stand by his bed as he entered eternity.

Almost a year to the day that I first had taken my dad into the emergency room, I was driving my husband in. He had become ill with a high fever that lasted for a couple of days and didn’t seem to break, even with medication.

It would be a 10 day stay; first warding off sepsis that was trying to invade his body, and then going through several surgeries that would leave him without four of his toes. The first several days were crucial, but eventually I was allowed to take him home. He would have to remain off his foot for at least another month after he got home. I was becoming used to the daily care, thinking about the times I had helped my mother and sister with my father in the not too distant past. I was thanking God for sparing my husband’s life.

I thought this would be the last I would see of the hospital for some time.

But after work, as I pulled into my driveway, I got a phone call. My mother had gotten into a horrible car accident and was at the emergency room. I entered that familiar door and was led back to emergency rooms, again.

Despite that she lay in a neck brace and endured horrific bruises, she forced a smile. I thought. “I am glad she is alive!” Though bruised, a cracked rib and cracked pubic ramus, she was still alive! I was glad to drive her home that evening. She began to heal slowly while my sister and I watched her improve. Then one morning she complained about chest pains and here I was again, at the ER.

After many tests they discovered small blood clots had entered her heart and her lungs from the bruising in her legs. Not only had she survived the accident, but she had survived blood clots.

I sat by the bedside once again, trusting the God that had always been faithful.

The saying, “when it rains it pours” seemed to be appropriate.

PS 139 kept coming to my mind, especially the final verses.

 PS 139; 23-24 NLT
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I was being shaken. Often people say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Well, I don’t always agree with that statement. He often allows more that we can handle on our own. He just gives us more of HIS GRACE. I thought, “What was in my heart? “I want God to lead me along the path of everlasting life. He is faithful to do just that.

These are precarious days. Our country seems to be shaking! The events that are taking place are events that test the core of our beliefs. Events that are affecting our personal lives, events that are affecting the future of America and the world are taking place in these hours.

We must be prepared to hear the voice of God. We must be prepared to obey his leading. We must be prepared to bring in the harvest for salvation.

We don’t know our future. We don’t even know how many days we are going to be on the earth. But it is important that we make most of our time.

As my mother is resting her weary body while it heals and my husband is being restored, I rest in the comfort of the Lord. I know there will be many struggles. I have witnessed them personally and among friends and family. I see them in our nation, and the world, at large.

Heartache, death, disease, violence, and trials don’t seem to stop, it seems. But it is part of this life. Jesus even said that there would be many trials but to be of good cheer for he has overcome the world.

What did Paul say in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9?

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed”. (NLT)

God’s light always shines brighter in perilous times and impossible situations.

It has throughout history. I am SURE that when Moses reached the Red Sea and knew the Egyptian army was right behind them, he was wondering what God had up his sleeve. But he trusted God who delivered ALL of them, while their enemy perished.

I bet Esther was not expecting to have to plead for her people as Haman had declared that all the Jews should be slaughtered. It seemed impossible to have victory amid that disastrous proclamation. But God heard the cries of her heart and others. Not only did God deliver them, but Haman hung in the place of the one whom he threatened to have killed.

We can continue with Joseph who must have felt hopeless as he sat in a prison for years for a crime he never committed. He may have wondered how he was going to get out of this one. But God heard his cries and not only freed him but made him second in command of the nation.

What about Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den, David, who was sought by King Saul who wanted to kill him, or even Noah who was mocked for years and years as he built this huge ship where there was no water, and yet God saved each of them. And what about Peter who was delivered from prison by an angel. We can go on and on.

Even in modern times we have heard testimonies of God’s faithfulness when all seemed lost. There are testimonies yet to be heard from places like Afganistan, China or North Korea where it takes the faith of the God who still works in the impossible. DOES God hear his people?

Sometimes we must walk through things we thought we wouldn’t have to. Sometimes life seems hopeless. BUT GOD STILL hears our cries and delivers, ESPECIALLY when it seems impossible.

What are you going through? What thoughts are invading your mind? What trials are crossing your path that seem impossible and what fears may be knocking at your door.  What about the future of America? Has God heard the cries for this nation? I believe he is waiting for his timing for this nation and for your future. He is waiting for the impossible. When we reach the Red Sea of impossibilities, God WILL be glorified.

I pray that you trust him in the process of your journey. 

God bless!

Do Not Look Back

We often look back on memories of our past.

We may re-live our positive memories with fondness and perhaps long for those days. The negative experiences, on the other hand, can take a more disturbing residence in our minds. Like a loop tape, they play over in our minds to the point of wishing we could change a certain time span, as you see in sci-fi movies. Or they are buried deep into our memory bank and we throw away the key. A simple moment may have changed the direction of our lives.

As far as negative experiences in our past, I have heard it said, “Your past does not dictate your future.” In other words, whatever happened in your past that was negative should not dictate the ability to live the rest of life with hope and promise. Yet, many people use heartache from their past to excuse their actions, saying it’s not their fault that they act a certain way.

It’s true that some people have experienced horrific pasts and need Jesus to enter their lives and perhaps go through counseling. But I am saying that God CAN use any hard situation to prosper us and those around us. HE has a way of turning things around. In fact, II Corinthians 1:3 states that God will comfort us in our trouble SO THAT we can comfort others when they experience trouble and pain.

Regardless, we are to ALWAYS move forward.

Remembering the negative past is for the purpose of reminding us of God’s mercy AND to help those who are stuck in their past. We can; however, learn from the past.

Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

So, we can LEARN from our past, BUT we should not camp there. We must MOVE forward. If we choose to live in our past –we will not grow into what we were meant to become.

In Exodus 16, the children of Israel, who wandered the desert for 40 years were told that manna, bread from heaven, would fall onto the ground every morning. There would be enough for that day. But what they did not use (except when they were to bake it for the 7th day) they were to throw out. If they didn’t it would breed worms and rot. We do not want to live off yesterday’s memories or experiences, good or bad.

I think there is more to that concept than we realize.

Even the Lord said that his mercies are NEW every morning. (Leviticus 3)

Paul shared his past in Acts 22 by talking about his background. He described how he was driven to kill those who preached the gospel. He continued by describing his transformation when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Since then he only pressed forward. He knew where he came from but did not stay there. The negative in his life was used only to show the power of God’s ability to change lives. He moved forward. He even stated in Philippians 3:13,14 (GWT):

“Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I DON’T LOOK BACK, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.”

At the end of his life he said,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

We will not finish the race by stopping and taking a break and just chilling. And we definitely will not finish it by turning around and going back to the starting line. So we can’t finish the race by looking behind us and wishing our past was different or listening to the voices that say, “Just quit. Your life was broken from the beginning anyway. Why try?”

Even if an athlete falls in a race, he gets up and runs harder.

Often the children of Israel complained to Moses while in the desert. They wanted to return to Egypt because it seemed easier the way things used to be, even if they were slaves before. They didn’t want to walk forward through hardships to get to the promised land. They were content with slavery.

How about you? Do you want to remain a slave to the things of this world instead of pressing forward?

What happened to Lot’s wife when she turned to look at Sodom and Gomorrah burning in the flames of God’s judgement? She turned into a pillar of salt. I often wonder why she turned to look back, especially after she was warned not to. Was it curiosity? Was it rebellion? Was it one last look at what she was leaving behind? Whatever her reason may have been, looking back had its consequences.

There is something about moving forward that the Lord wants to impress into our spirits.

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

The Lord wants to encourage us to go forward. It is so easy at times to simply sit back and get comfy or obsess with the past.

But there is joy at the finish line if we do not give up.

(Jesus) saw the JOY AHEAD of him, so endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Hebrews 12:2a (GWT)

He saw what was at the finish line and it filled him with joy and gave him the determination to go forward.

If we could really see with 20/20 vision, as many are stating in 2020, we could see that God IS for us. We could see that the suffering of this age is NOTHING compared to the glorious life that is in front of us. THAT is why he wants us to move FORWARD. There is so much more at the finish line.

THERE IS MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE IN FRONT OF US!

Do not look behind you with longing. Do not look behind you with regret. Do not look behind you with defeat. The things in the past will not satisfy anymore. Press forward.

Our tomorrows with the LORD will be greater than we have ever imagined. What does God have to say about going forward?

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a FUTURE.” Jeremiah 29:11

Keep your eyes focused on the author and finisher of your faith as you continue to move forward. Press on.

GOD BLESS!