This month at Facets of Faith, we’re answering the question what would you give up to maintain your freedom? Tracy and Jen have already shared. Be sure to check out their posts by clicking on their names.
As for me (Kim), when I think about this question, an epic story comes to mind. A story of slavery and the quest for freedom. A display of power and great love.
The Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
I often wonder what life was like for them.
From the good life under Joseph’s provision to the growing tension between two nations to being enslaved by the Egyptians, the Israelites were beaten, controlled, put down, and placed in bondage. They grew weary and longed for freedom, yet freedom seemed so far away.
Have you ever felt that way? Caught by something where the weight wears you down, trips you up, and enslaves you?
Maybe it’s an addiction, or a broken relationship. Maybe it’s a pattern of unhealthy choices, or a marriage that’s tearing you apart. Whatever the pain may be, it has the power to control and keep us locked up in turmoil.
There’s been a lot of brokenness and sorrow in my own life. From the death of my daughter to years in a difficult marriage that ultimately ended in divorce, I often cried out to God in despair, wondered if my life would ever change.
I wanted relief. I wanted my circumstances to change. I longed for the freedom found on the pages of Scripture and felt it was beyond my grasp.
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17, NLT
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10b
I wanted that. Freedom for a full and abundant life. But truthfully, I didn’t really know what that looked like. I lived in bondage to brokenness for so long, freedom – true freedom – seemed elusive, almost like a cruel joke.
Kind of like the Israelites.
They prayed and cried out to God, wondering if their situations would ever change. But God did hear their cries, their sorrow and lament, and He planned to do something amazing about it.
I wonder if any the Israelites knew what was coming? Did they suspect they were about to be rescued and see the glory of God? Do you think anyone laid in the bed at night as a sense of expectation filled the air? Or were their chains all they saw?
Enter Moses. Moses, saved first by his mom in a little boat, and then by Pharaoh’s daughter from the river. Moses, the one who heard God in a burning bush, called to lead His people to freedom. Moses, the one who questioned, and the one whom God answered. From let my people go to the 12 plagues until Pharaoh finally said go. And go they did, all the way to the Red Sea.
The Red Sea.
That’s the moment I wonder about. That moment when the freedom seemed but a hair-breath’s away. That moment when the hope that soared high was threatened by the stretch of water before them.
I wonder what the Israelites were willing to give up in that moment in order to maintain their freedom?
They gave up their homes, and all that was familiar. As they stood on the banks of the sea, what else were they willing to release? Fear? Disbelief? Uncertainty? Doubt?
Perhaps those are some of the same we need to give up in order to maintain our own?
God, the One who led them in a cloud during the day and fire by night, commanded Moses to spread out his arms. Did the Israelites stare in disbelief as Moses raised them up? Did doubt crowd their minds and tumble from their lips?
Is he really doing that? Will it even make a difference?
As the sea began to move, did their hearts skip a beat? Were their doubts and questions replaced with expectancy as the waters shifted?
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20, NLT
What about that moment when the sea parted and the ground was dry? What happened then? Did the nation move quickly, a spring in their step as faith propelled them forward? Or did they move with hesitancy, trapped by the doubt regardless of what happened before their very eyes?
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9, NLT
Scripture doesn’t tell us those specific but it does make know that never once during those moments at the sea, nor throughout their wanderings were the people of Israel alone. God was with them every step of the way, working out His perfect plan to draw the nation closer to Himself.
But they had a choice. They had to choose let go of what they knew in order to experience what they didn’t.
As God mends my heart, He is showing me that I have a choice as well. Yes, Jesus came to offer us freedom from sin, freedom from death and destruction, freedom to live an abundant life in Him, but unless I move, I’ll remain in chains.
Like the Israelites, I can choose to stay on one side of the sea, sure of what I think I see, or I can step out in faith, release my thoughts and expectations, and follow the One who sees it all.
I’m learning to let go of the very things that have hurt me most – the sorrow of death and the pain of failure. I’m learning that my freedom – peace and joy and abundant life – are worth the risk of choosing to heal, choosing to trust.
I’m letting go of my fear and my doubt, believing God is as faithful and true now as He was when He parted the Red Sea.
I’m learning there is freedom when I release the pain of my past to the One who holds my future as I fix my eyes on the living Author and Perfector of my faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a, NLT
What hurt are you willing to give up in order to maintain your freedom?
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