what’s chasing you?

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Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.

Exodus 14:13-20 MSG

What’s chasing you?

We often talk about the idea that God goes before us and leads us. We rest on that fact, trusting Him to clear the way, show us which way to go, and lead us through tough circumstances. But we rarely talk about how God goes behind us.

We see it in this passage. The presence of the Lord shifts from the front to the back. Why? To stand between His people and the force that is pursuing them.

What’s chasing you?

Do you believe that He stands between you and the thing that threatens your peace, your comfort, your provision? The scripture says that He has positioned Himself there to shed light on you and darkness on your enemy.

God asks an interesting question. “Why cry out to Me?” It’s not that He lacks awareness of the situation and the danger they’re in. He’s wondering why they’re worried when He is right there.

God is right there.

So do not worry, friend. He stands between you and your threat. He is bringing light to your situation and He will save you. He will take care of the enemy. Stand firm and watch Him do His work.

 

 

 

the sunroom

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As I write, I am sitting in the most glorious sunroom looking out on the fields of Washington, Indiana. The adults are resting and the children went on an excursion with their grandma. The house is quiet and I am enjoying the Lord’s rest.

The last several days have been quite an adventure. The Lord arranged for me to fly to Indiana to stay with my cousin, whom I had only met in person one time, and to speak to some of the ladies in her homeschool community and her faith community. I really didn’t know what to expect.

I spent a lot of time preparing to speak to the homeschool group, coming up with three different topics. However, I was not able to put much of anything on paper when it came to preparing for the women’s group I’d be speaking to. While on my Sunday flight, I tried to focus and do more preparation, but the Lord kept urging me to just rest and relax.

When I woke up the first morning in southern Indiana, I started to feel anxious about my speaking and the lack of preparation that I felt was necessary. Again, the Lord asked me to rest and trust Him, leading me to Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (v.1-3)

He made it clear that my purpose on this trip was not to speak, share, encourage… but to rest. He promised green pastures, quiet waters, and He promised to refresh my soul. He wanted me to rest in Him and let HIM speak, let HIM encourage, let HIM show me what to share moment by moment. I came 2,000 miles to strive, to perform, to live up to my own expectations. Clearly, we had different agendas, and I have been struggling to lay mine down and embrace His.

The homeschool event went well, though I didn’t begin to rest in Him until nearly the end. I got there eventually, but I admit that it’s hard to let go and let Him carry me along.

This morning, I woke up with no more than a couple of thoughts scribbled in my journal in preparation for speaking to the group of Christian ladies. I immediately became anxious, but His word to me again was to rest. Trust Him. I did better today, and was greatly blessed in the process of letting go. But I have to ask: Why is my heart so resistant to rest? The Lord answered this question for me:

Resting requires a release of control.

No wonder I am always so tired! I’m often very reluctant to let go! I am learning to let God have control over situations in my life and also to let Him lead where He wants, but I still have not figured out this rest business.

Many of us try resting with one eye open, so to speak. We think we are letting go and letting the Lord take care of everything, but we’ve got one eye on the circumstances and one foot on the floor in case we need to get up and take charge again.

However, sitting here in this sunroom, I think my heart is ready to start resting. I think I’m ready to start letting go, closing my eyes to circumstances, and just spending time resting in the fact that God is in control. I think I might even be ready to rejoice in my rest… not doing it because that’s what I’m supposed to, but enjoying the release of responsibility and control because God is always better at the helm than I am.

As the clouds float by at a snail’s pace out the window, I am reminded that I was not created for hustle and bustle. I was not created for racing, competing, and performing. I was created to rest in my Father’s hands at the potter’s wheel and to let Him do with me what pleases Him. How can He shape me if I am not still? Resting is not about recuperating for the next big thing I want to do for Him. Resting is about being in His presence, soaking up His love and truth, and letting Him mold me into something beautiful and (eventually) flawless.

So I sit here resting, not thinking about the next big thing I’ll do. Nope. I am just relishing the lavish gifts He gave me this week: The privilege of being His voice of encouragement. The joy of being not only His daughter, but a daughter of the Ryan clan. Bonds with a family that I have only recently met. Moments to connect with sisters in Christ whom I may not see again until heaven. Glimpses into what a slower, simpler life might look like for my family. I am resting in all that He’s shown me and provided for me.

And I’ll let Him take care of whatever is next.

40 years

We are in relationship with a loving God. Though I cannot see Him with my eyes, He has become so tangible to me and to my heart.

This morning, I was emotional and grateful for a certain friendship He has provided in my life. I was thinking, “Lord, why are you so good to me? I don’t deserve it…”

Before I could really finish that pitiful thought, He spoke to my heart, “I do it because I LOVE you. I have walked with you and carried you for 40 years.”

Thanks for rounding up, God. My 40th birthday is not until next March! (These are the kinds of super-spiritual thoughts I have in the morning.)

Then, He pointed out to me that this summer marks the 40 yr anniversary of when my mom discovered she was pregnant with me. He HAS walked with me for 40 years! He has been present, guiding, loving, and providing for 40 years. What a milestone. What an amazing God. I am His, and He is mine.

Yet You are He Who took me out of the womb; You made me hope and trust when I was on my mother’s breasts.

I was cast upon You from my very birth; from my mother’s womb You have been my God.

Psalm 22:9-10

How long has He walked with you? Celebrate the milestone!