It was a day to retreat and reflect away from the kids and in the company of other moms. So there I was…waiting and expecting God to show up somehow. And suddenly, I was presented with this verse:
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).
“Okay God,” I thought. “I’ve read the book of Exodus many times, but your Word is living and active and you can speak new insights and wisdom through these old familiar passages. What are you speaking to me today?”
So I went back to the book of Exodus in chapter 14 and reminded myself of the familiar story.
The Israelites had just been freed from slavery in Egypt. Their liberation involved a lot of pain, loss, blood, and death. And here they were…liberated and free, making their journey to some new, unknown place…but they were free!
Their journey, however, took them to the edge of the Red Sea where God instructed them to camp. This was his plan all along — to put their enemies to rest for good. Yet, God’s newly liberated people weren’t quite sure. Doubt and fear gripped their hearts.
I’m sure it was a terrifying sound, hearing the Egyptian army approach; and watching their chariots approaching likely triggered memories of trauma, oppression, fear, and pain amongst them.
In that moment, anxiety and fear paralyzed the hearts of God’s people, so they cried out to Moses. “Why would God bring us here only to die in the desert!?” (Exodus 13:11)
Filled with the Word of God, Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you: you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14).
You likely know the end of the story. God did indeed deliver them from death, anxiety, and fear. They witnessed their enemy being swallowed up by the crushing collapse of the Red Sea. God’s promise was fulfilled, and they never saw their enemies ever again.
This passage reminded me of the many times I, too, was like the Israelites staring into the face of anxiety, hopelessness, and fear, questioning God’s power and faithfulness in my life.
Like the time we needed a new vehicle but couldn’t afford one; or when we didn’t know how we would pay our bills for the next several months; or when we received hateful threats against our family causing us the emotional pain of betrayal. God fought on my behalf in every one of these instances, and all I had to do was sit still! ( When what I really felt like doing was running in circles like a chicken with my head cut off!)
But God will fight for me…again and again and again.
I am now trusting God to fight for me in my current circumstances, which is the “Red Sea” of homeschooling, needing financial provision, transitioning to being a mom of three boys, and waiting on unfulfilled dreams that are not happening in my timeline.
When we find ourselves standing on the edge of the Red Sea with no sign of hope, we have a choice to make. We can stare at the army with their chariots, swords, and hateful eyes and be filled with anxiety and terror. Or we can keep our eyes on the glittering water and the sun that shines down, reminding us of God’s great power, love, and protection for his children.
So wherever you are today, hear this from him: “My beloved child. I am your defender. Don’t be afraid, I will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
- Reflect on some times when God has shown up for you in a situation where you couldn’t see a way out. Write them all down.
- Ask God what are some ways you are trying to handle your circumstances on your own that may be bringing you unnecessary anxiety, fear, and stress?
- Invite God into your circumstances. Pray and ask him to replace fear, anxiety, and stress with stillness, faith, and confidence in him.
Esther Joy Davis is a wife and a mom of three young boys. She works as a marriage and family therapist and is passionate about helping others find mental and spiritual health. She enjoys singing, playing and writing worship music, reading, journaling, and minimalistic living.