Two years ago today, I hung up the phone after talking to a friend about the many thoughts and feelings running through my mind. A couple months before, the Lord put on my heart that He would be taking me on a journey to do something new in my life. I thought I knew what that meant. But just as I stepped out in faith, it led to closed doors.
I was hurt, but I couldn’t deny the glimmer of excitement in my heart. Because I knew He was up to something I just couldn’t yet see.
So I dusted off my blog and began writing again. I never really stopped, but I had just allowed myself to become so busy that I mostly only wrote for myself, and very little ever made it to my blog. But my heart overflowed – with simultaneous excitement and confusion about where He would lead – and once words hit the page, I knew I wanted to share what the Lord was doing in my life and my heart.
Minutes after I hung up the phone, a song came on the radio. I had never heard it before, and I’ve never heard it since. To Those Who Wait by Bethany Dillon. I looked it up and played it over and over on my phone. Now, looking back, the words were prophetic in preparing me for what was ahead.
I had no idea four months later I would get sick. I had no idea ten months later I would be waiting to hear that I did not have a tumor. I had no idea thirteen months later I would need surgery.
I had no idea He would take the words I wrote down as I processed it all and He would carry them to new places.
I had no idea I would need to be reminded over and over that the Lord was fighting for me in my waiting to see what He was doing.
I had no idea stepping out would lead to disappointment, and it would also be the beginning of something new.
I had no idea that despite the bruises and the wounds which were coming, the fear and the struggling, He would come closer and give me more of Himself.
I had no idea THIS was the journey. But I’m really thankful it’s what He had in mind, and my ideas were not His plans.
Two years ago I wrote a post about Exodus 14:14 right after that conversation with my friend, and I wanted to share it with you today. To remind us that He is working; that He is fighting for us; that in the waiting, He will accomplish exactly what He set out to do in our lives.
Whatever journey you are on, the Lord is near. He isn’t finished yet. And He is fighting these battles for you.
This morning I stumbled upon one of my favorite verses while I was reading through the story of Moses, when he brought the people of Israel out of Egypt. As they were fleeing, Pharaoh was right behind them, coming after them. The Israelites must have felt like their situation was turning into a disaster; they were probably scared and confused. God had promised to rescue them, but here they were, surely about to be killed.
And you know what they said? It would’ve been better to have stayed in Egypt.
In those moments of terror, their enslavement sounded better than following the Lord’s plan. Because the Lord’s plan was scary.
How many times must I have had this same mentality? How many times have I been on the path the Lord was directing me towards, talking back to Him to say it would have been better to go a different direction?
Sometimes we feel trapped. We’re stuck in the middle of waiting for something to change – lost in a cloud of uncertainty, unable to get away when we see trouble looming – and we’re surrounded by all the things that hurt us most. We want to escape and go anywhere but here.
When life gets complicated, when it doesn’t turn out the way I expect, my mind immediately goes to all the other possibilities of what could have happened if I had taken a different direction. I think it would have been better to do this or that, because anything would be better than where I am now.
But what I cannot see is the road ahead. I can’t see the end result. I have to wait to find out what the Lord is doing, because He’s the only one who knows where He’s taking me. He knows best and His ways are good – even when the waiting looks like impending doom.
It will feel scary, it will be uncomfortable, it will seem like the world is about to end right in front of me while there will not be a thing I can do about it. It will be in the moments where I feel like I cannot move that I will start to look around for a way out. It will be in my helplessness that I will wish I had turned around. It will be in the panic and chaos where I will say, surely I should have stayed where I was and not have followed You into this place.
Yet, He will remind me exactly what Moses reminded the people of Israel: The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).
When the road ahead looks frightening, He will fight for me. When I’m waiting, wondering where we’re going, He will fight for me. When I want to go back, He will fight for me. When fear and insecurity threaten to take over, He will fight for me. When the world comes knocking at my door with their insults and their weapons, meant to do me harm and to crush my heart, He will fight for me. I only need to be still – to know that He is God and He will defend me.
He will hear me when I call and He will not need to come to my rescue because He will already be there by my side. He desires good for me. He desires His best for me. But He cannot bring me to that place until I surrender myself to the journey. I must take His hand and follow the sound of His voice, even when I can’t see, and even still when what I do see makes me want to run the other direction.
Because when He is with me, nothing can harm me. Nothing can get in the way of His perfect plan for my life.
If only we could trust in those moments instead of turning the other way.
The magnificent thing about grace is that even when we try to run the other direction, He still turns us back around. I wonder how many times I’ve almost ruined what He wanted to do in my life by trying to go a different direction. But He will have none of that. Even in my stubbornness and fear, He calls me gently in the way I should go. Because He knows better than I, and He will have His way. I’m so thankful He will have His way. I know He is up to something and it makes me want to get up and try again.
So I’ll put one foot in front of the other.
Knowing nothing will happen unless it is His will.
Trusting He is fighting the battles I can’t even see.
Making the way clear an inch at a time.
And walking with me every step of the way.