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I was driving home the other night when a squirrel shot across the road in front of me. I slowed down and it had plenty of time to cross, but two thirds of the way over he did an about face and headed back again. Fortunately there was no traffic, so I stopped for him. But in that moment I thought to myself, I am that squirrel.

Because two weeks ago I heard a sermon. It was a good sermon with many good points, but the one in the beginning stuck with me most.

Why settle for a simple escape when God wants to provide a reversal of your situation?

I kept thinking this over and over to myself. Because we’ve faced some serious difficulties in the last couple of years. There have been tons of times I’ve wanted to escape (though usually only for little while). From negative situations, taxing relationships, my house, our debt, my family, my life. It felt like it was all too much. There were definitely dark nights of the soul when I could think of little else. I wanted God to magically take all my problems away or I wanted to flee those problems.
That night, as I saw that squirrel a single line came to mind.

“Don’t go back to Egypt.”

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The nation of Israel stood with the Red Sea in front of them and the army of Pharaoh behind them. Faced with the possibility of drowning versus capture, they thought a return to the former things, slavery and bondage, seemed preferable over what appeared to be certain death. They just wanted to escape. But God had a better way in mind. A way they could never have anticipated, one that their minds were unable to comprehend. If they had settled for simple escape they would have missed out on true deliverance.

That squirrel was almost there. But he couldn’t see it. All he could see the was oncoming car and he headed back where he came from.

What does Egypt mean to me?

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It’s a place of captivity but the illusion of security. Where problems are known but seem unconquerable, at least without outside intervention. Chances not taken, because of fear of failure. When I am so focused on praying for God to provide a way of escape (which admittedly he sometimes does), I am not always looking for his unexpected answer. A reversal that may seem improbable if not impossible; unanticipated, unpredictable, and unfathomable. Because that is the God we serve.
Don’t be the squirrel, look for the unexpected answer and face the waters head on. You are not alone.