by Kasia Kedzia
Shortcuts…we all take them, especially when we think no one else is watching. Whether it’s cutting corners on a run or shaving my legs only up to the hem (ok, ladies you know you have done this); shortcuts are options we chose when the “right” option requires more time, energy, or work. Sometimes shortcuts are overt but, rationalization can also be a shortcut, a justification to do things we know are wrong. We have all succumbed to the attraction of taking shortcuts but we must not be deceived there is alway a cost to taking the short way.
Ex13:17-18 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
A friend recently sent me the above scripture and in a moment of cynicism, all I could reply was, “yea, yea, ok, I know God don’t like short cuts! But seriously, this long way he’s taking me sucks!” To which she replied, “True, but look at it again. He took them the long way, which led them right up to the edge of what seemed like the impossible, and then Bam! He revealed himself in a miracle beyond miracles.” I went on to read all of chapters 13,14 of Exodus and parked there for the week. I reveled in how incredibly loving God was in these passages. Even though he knew his people would grumble later, he still wanted them to see the extent of his power and love as their God and deliverer. Even though he knew they would forget all too quickly, he did this for them and for us to remember who he is. He is deliberate, he works for our ultimate good, and he protects us even when we can’t see or understand it.
Ex14:13 Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
Later in the week a different friend asked me what I thought it meant to “stand firm”. It was a bit beyond me, there was God nudging me yet again. As He calls me to stand firm, I am seeing and accepting that on my own strength this is absolutely impossible. I began to think of what it takes to stand firm physically. For any lifting stance that enables one to handle a great deal of weight, to stand firm one must plant their feet deliberately on the ground below them with force, intent and balance. When you stand firm correctly you become much stronger, more powerful, and you can handle a great deal of force without losing your balance. With practice you can lift more than your own body weight, you can be unmoved. To stand firm in God, on his foundation, I cannot stand partly on his foundation while trying to stand partly on my own as well. I must be balanced. I must be unmoved.
Ex14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
I can only imagine getting to the cusp of the Red Sea, the pit of the stomach feeling and sheer terror before it parted; as it parted; as they crossed on dry ground while the walls of water rushed and thundered around them. Every person has something that is difficult for him or her to allow God to fight for. There is always that moment of temptation when we want to take things into our own hands. But if we do, we miss out on seeing God fight for us, we miss out on an opportunity to see a miracle that is beyond our strength and ability. Ultimately, we can miss out on experiencing being in the presence of The Living God and growing in our faith in him. He is still the God that can part the Red Sea in our lives. It’s not pleasant to let go, in fact, it is potentially terrifying. What is it for you? Financial stability? Status? A job or position? A relationship? Is there anything you would not be willing to surrender to him? For me it has been multiple things at once, which has increased the fear factor, but God has held me through it and continues to do so.
Ex14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
I am learning to trust God as never before, I am learning that my faith cannot stem from who I am or what I do but must come from who God is. As I obey and chose to be still, I let him fight for me. When I do what is right over what I want or feel, especially in the hard moments, he reveals his great power.
Deuteronomy 8:16-18 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.
It is a daily choice to remember how God has and continues to lead, protect, and deliver me. Fighting to remember this has helped me to gain sanity, restore my hope, and give me perspective. It is a choice to seek and ask for faith that is beyond me. All these things he has done so that I could never lay claim of the glory that belongs to him. As I watch the people in my life come to know him, I cannot take credit, as I see the changes in me and around me I am in awe of him. It inspires me to pray for people more, to rely on him more and to desire his will over mine more. It gives me the strength to wait like never before. With each decision it becomes a little easier and He reveals himself a little more. There are moments when I still feel incredibly exposed and vulnerable. Where I must still acknowledge my disappointments, take time to mourn them and then hand them over to God. It can be pretty terrifying, but it’s no longer a scary life threatening type of fear. Now it’s more of the type of terror one feels on a roller coaster or a thrill ride, when you cannot help but laugh after the end of the loop or bottom of a drop as your stomach still churns and heart still pounds. It is life giving fear that makes you want to give him more and get back in line for the ride to go again, because even in the scary times you know it’s worth it even if he’s taking you the long way.
Mtt 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
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Since those first days, I have made it out of the Projects, finished my Masters degree in International Development, and moved to DC to work in my field. As a young single Christian woman my struggles today are a little different than they were when I first came to know God, but who am I kidding, not much. It's the every day battle for my heart to be pure before God, to strive to please him, and help others to seek and know Him.
Over my years of a faithful walk with God I have received much grace and compassion and have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Through out it all one thing has stayed consistent: God's word. Through His word I have been inspired and it has kept me faithful even when faith seemed like a foreign concept and God seemed deaf to my prayers. I started emailing my Quiet Times which helped me stay accountable as I shared my struggles and fought for understanding. Some wrote back and said they too were inspired and could relate. I hope some of my times can help inspire others who are seeking and fighting just like I am, to get to heaven and take as many as possible with me along the way.
Like what your read? Check out my blog: http://stronggirlforlife.wordpress.com/
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