Following God will take you to some strange and unexpected places.
For Moses, it was going back to Egypt after he had fled from there 40 years prior and built a whole new life for himself in Midian!
For Abraham, it was a mountain where he was told to sacrifice the very son he had waited 25 years for God to give him!
For Gideon, it was into his first battle ever…against a vastly superior army, with no military experience and only 300 men on his side!
I call it a “wait…what?!?” situation.
One place God takes us—a place that’s about as unpleasant as it is unexpected—is that dreaded realm between a rock and a hard place. It’s that place in life where you’ve completely run out of options. You’re hemmed in on every side. Each new choice seems worse than the last. Nothing is working and there’s nowhere to turn.
Now, if we’re being honest, some of those places we put ourselves. Our own bone-headed decisions and stubborn refusal to do right will often get us into some terrible situations. But sometimes we find ourselves in a spot like that through absolutely no fault of our own. I truly believe that, at times, it’s God Himself who intentionally leads His people there. It’s not punishment or spite. It’s not some divine experiment to see what you’ll do, like a rat in a maze.
When God puts you in a pickle, it’s always for a purpose.
That’s exactly what God did for Israel one day. Notice I said, “for Israel,” not “to Israel.” Whatever is for the glory of God is also for the good of God’s people. As difficult as it is, it’s happening so we can learn and grow, so we can see our Father more clearly and get closer to Him.
When Pharaoh finally relented and released the people, God didn’t lead them on the path that would have been much shorter (Exodus 13:17–18). The scripture says that God deliberately led the people toward the Red Sea, without any boats or bridge-building materials in tow. And it couldn’t have been more clear who was navigating them—they followed a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night! When they got there, God expressly instructed Moses to have the people camp by the sea (Exodus 14:2).
Of course, Pharaoh couldn’t let go. His ego couldn’t suffer the loss, so he led his armies out in pursuit. When their chariots caught up with Israel, they had them right where they wanted them. God’s people had their backs against the water with their oppressors closing in fast! There was nowhere left to run and no way they could fight an enemy like that. That whole freedom thing was fun while it lasted, but now it looked liked it was definitely over.
The point is this—it was God Himself who put His people in an impossible situation. He did it on purpose, for a purpose. And He’ll do the same for His people now as He did for His people then.
Sickness will come out of nowhere and the doctors will tell you there’s nothing they can do.
Your spouse of many years will just up and tell you they don’t want to be married anymore, and they’ll tell you point blank there’s nothing you can say or do to change their mind.
Your financial resources will evaporate like an ice cube in the Sahara, and there won’t even be any money left to “move around.”
In those times, we need to hear the words Moses spoke to the children of Israel—“Don’t be afraid, stand firm, and watch God work!” Some situations in life are divinely designed to remind you that you need a greater power than you have. These situations call for faith and surrender. They demand that we put down our weapons and let Him fight for us. These situations force us to accept that we were never really in control anyway, and they bring us back to a place of perfect peace in knowing the One who has been in control all along.
When you’re between that rock and that hard place, struggling only makes it hurt more. We end up wearing ourselves out emotionally and eroding our mental health. We put more strain on our already-fragile relationships. We make destructive decisions out of desperation, decisions that only put us deeper in the hole we’re trying to claw our way out of.
When you’re in that place, you really only have one job: be still. That’s what Moses told the people that day. It doesn’t seem like a whole lot to do, but that’s a big enough job for you to handle. That’s the one thing you’ve got control over. It’s more than enough for you to just keep your peace, let alone trying to fix unfixable things and fight unwinnable battles.
Just be still. That’s where all your effort and energy needs to go. And believe me, sometimes it takes every ounce of your strength to not panic, to not act foolishly based on your fear. In a serious storm, it takes every ounce of spiritual concentration to keep your mind focused on God’s promises instead of the devil’s threats. You don’t have any concentration to spare on worrying about what you can’t do anyway.
If God has brought you to a dead-end, that means He already has a miracle in mind!
You can’t see it. You probably can’t even imagine it. But if He brought you to it, He has to bring you through it. His own faithful nature obligates Him to. It doesn’t matter how impossible it seems. That’s why we say God makes a way out of no way.
So if you’re stuck…just be still.
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