“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!'”
(Exodus 14:15, NLT)
The Israelites had no practice being hopeful.
They’d been slaves in Egypt for enough generations that nobody remembered being free. After the 80-year-old Moses showed up and told them God would save them, their slaveholders got even more brutal. Not to mention their anxiety during each of the ten plagues – Will Pharaoh let us go this time? What is he going to do when he figures out that we aren’t just praying in the desert for three days?
So when they stood on the edge of the Red Sea, stuck between the deep water and Pharaoh’s fast-approaching army, they panicked. Even knowing that God kept them safe while the Egyptians’ food supply disappeared via disease, insect swarm, and hail, while the Egyptians were tormented by frogs, gnats, flies, boils, darkness, and death – even knowing all that, they had a crisis of imagination. They couldn’t see how God might get them out of this, so they turned on Moses, blaming him for getting them in worse trouble than they’d been in as slaves.
What does God do in response? He tells them to get moving.
God tells them to get moving before He tells Moses the plan.
Who among them could’ve imagined that God would move the pillar of cloud to hide them from the Egyptians, shift the Red Sea to form a path they could walk through to freedom, and then collapse the water to drown the Egyptian army? Nobody. But God wanted them to take a step in faith, in hope, in trust before they knew how He’d save them.
Sometimes you are stuck. Anxious. Panicky. In a crisis of imagination. Crying out to God and blaming everyone you can think of.
Instead of waiting until you know exactly how it’s all going to play out or which path is clear, try taking a step. You don’t have to feel hopeful. You don’t have to know how God is going to work it out. You don’t even have to be less afraid. But whatever situation you feel stuck about, there’s always a small step you can take, a way to get moving. Take it. And watch God run with it.