For the last several weeks, our church has been going through the Story [link] – basically traveling through the Bible in a year, learning about God’s story and our place in it. Each week, the Sunday morning sermon, the various children’s ministries, and the small groups study the same passage.
A few weeks ago, we studied the Israelites’ escape from Egypt to the Red Sea. If you don’t know the story, here’s a synopsis: the Israelites are slaves and Pharaoh finally agrees to let them go after a series of plagues strike Egypt. Soon after, he changes his mind and sends his army after them. Israel has traveled as far as the Red Sea and is now trapped between it and Pharaoh’s approaching army. They panic, crying out again Moses their leader and wondering why they didn’t just stay in Egypt rather than face this certain death.
Of course, if you know the rest of the story, it doesn’t end there. God miraculously parts the Red Sea so that the Israelites can walk through on dry ground. Then, after they’ve made it through, God brings the waters back together and Pharaoh’s army drowns. And this isn’t the last time that same scenario plays itself out – the Israelites come across an obstacle in their journey, they complain and say it would have been better to have been slaves, and God miraculously provides for them.
It’s easy to look at the Israelites and judge them for their initial response when faced with these obstacles, but here is the thought that I can’t get out of my head –the story wasn’t over yet. All they saw was an ending, an insurmountable obstacle, but God was just getting started! If they just held out a little while longer, they would see His provision – miraculously.
There are a ton of applications to this, but for me, in this season, it is such a comforting thought when ministry doesn’t go the way I want it to (and it rarely does) – God is not done writing the story.