The Good News - Home

Finding God in the Impossible

Part 3 of 3

by David A. DePra

     When Israel was encamped by the Red Sea -- a place to which

they had come through obedience to God -- they found themselves

in an impossible situation. There was no way out. They did not

have what they needed in that situation, and worse, they had no way

of getting it. They were completely at the mercy of God.

      To human thinking, this was bad. But in reality, it was good. What

could possibly be bad about being completely in God's hands,

without anything we can do to help ourselves? Indeed, if we would

only see it, we ARE in that situation everyday. We are just too

blind to realize it. That is why God allows impossible situations.

     They expose our true condition of helplessness to US.

We have seen that when we find ourselves in such situations that

it may not be because we have sinned. It may be because we

have obeyed God! But regardless of how we got into our situation,

the responsibility upon us is the same: Surrender to God. God

gives, in the Red Sea account in Exodus, a four-fold method for

surrendering to Him. He says, "Fear not, stand still, see salvation,

and move forward."

Fearing Not and Standing Still

    I must "fear not" if I am to be able to "stand still." Spiritually

speaking, this is so. To "fear not" means to refuse to "listen" to fear,

But more -- for I am not to simply let my mind go blank. To "fear not"

also means to fill the void with FAITH. Instead of fearing, I must


     Think about this for a moment. FEAR -- being afraid -- is usually

the result of having my security undermined. I feel threatened, and

as if things depend on me. And if I don't feel adequate, well, then

the fear takes over. Thus, the solution to fear is always to TRUST.

Faith in someone -- and for a Christian, that is GOD -- will always

cause fear to lose it's grip upon us.

     Faith, therefore, is the only solution to fear. I must believe and

trust and rely -- upon GOD -- if I am to "fear not" regarding the trials

I am in. Then, and only then, will I be able to "stand still." I can

only "stand still" IN faith if I am believing to begin with. I must

STAND in the faith of Christ, in the midst of my trial, against any

thing that would try to come and move me.

     In His words to Israel through Moses, God then gave the

RESULT "fearing not" and "standing still." It's the outcome of those.

He said, "And you shall SEE the salvation of the Lord." He then

told them to "move forward." In these we have the last two elements

of God's four-fold solution in the impossible situation.

See Salvation

     Actually, these last two steps are somewhat out of order in the

way they are stated by Moses. Moses said, "See the salvation

of the Lord," and then later, "move forward." But Israel actually

had to "move forward" FIRST. They had to "move forward"

BEFORE they got to "see the salvation of the Lord." Did you ever

notice that? This is important. It is another revelation of God as to

how He works.

     Imagine yourself as one of these two million people entrapped

at the Red Sea. There is a vast sea in front of you. You cannot

see to the other side. Pharoah is coming down upon you at the

rear. And there is no escape. At that point, God says, "Move

forward." Move forward to WHERE? God hadn't parted the Red

Sea yet! And how could any of the children of Israel have had the

slightest notion that He was going to do that? Yet God said, "Why

do you cry to Me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go


     Herein we see a great principle in the workings of God. God

often says "move forward" before we can see the way. He often

tells us what the next step is, even though we haven't any way of

knowing where He is leading us. Thus, we have a principle of

faith: We may not know where we are going, but we must trust the

One leading.

     God almost never reveals to us what He is doing before He

does it. Rather, He reveals it to us AS He does it. Thus, if I think I

must sit and wait for God to draw me a blueprint before I can get

up and walk, I am going to have a long wait. Rather, God says,

"Go forward." Take the next step. Then, as I take each step, I

begin to move into the purposes of God.

     For some of us, that next step is nothing more than getting up

each day and going to work. It seems meaningless, but it is the

task before us. But as we fulfill our responsibilities, we find that

our faith in trusting God will reap the fruit God is after. We will SEE

the salvation of the Lord in ways we had not dreamed. Perhaps

not today, nor tomorrow, but in God's time and purpose.

Into the Fray

     God was actually asking Israel to do something which was

probably the last thing they wanted to do. Everything in them was

tending to the contrary. Move forwards to the Red Sea? Move

forward to the very thing which was entrapping them?

     We can imagine it. Perhaps as they obeyed, they were ankle

deep. Then up to their knees. Where was God's deliverance?

Things probably seemed to be getting worse before they got


     God could have delivered Israel in any number of ways. He

could have wiped out Egypt in a moment without requiring Israel

to cross the Red Sea. Or He could have seen to it that Egypt had

not pursued them to begin with. But no. God had specifically gotten

Israel into this mess. He wanted to do something special. And the

way He did it has special significance for US.

     God wanted to destroy Egypt using the Red Sea -- the very

thing which had seemed such an adversary to Israel. The Red

Sea had entrapped them. It was the Red Sea which had created

such a terrible danger and impossibility. And yet God told them

to turn and face it -- indeed move towards it. God wanted to use

this same Red Sea to not only deliver Israel, but to destroy Egypt!

     Now note: God used the very item which had CAUSED the trial

to bring DELIVERANCE. He used the same Red Sea which had

been such an impossible barrier -- to deliver them and destroy their

greatest enemy. In our lives, He does the same. God is not content

to simply let us escape our enemy. He wants to destroy our enemy.

     And He will use the very trial we are presently IN to do it.

Just as God used the Red Sea to destroy Egypt, He intends to

use our trial to destroy our "our Egypt." He is using these trials to

set us free from the old patterns of the flesh, and from our tendency

towards sin.

     Egypt is a "type" of sin. A "type" of the realm of darkness. And

Pharoah is a type of our "old man in Adam." God had spent much

time over the course of ten plagues trying to get Pharoah to obey

Him. But flesh cannot obey God. It cannot. There is only one way

to deal with Pharoah: He must die. Egypt must be totally destroyed.

      This is why God brought Israel into the impossible. He wanted to

not only deliver them FROM Pharoah -- He wanted to make sure

Pharoah would never try to exercise power over them again. But in

order to do this, it was necessary for Israel to move forward -- not

out of the impossible -- but deeper INTO the impossible. Israel

would be delivered only if they turned and went, by faith, into a

sort of death of their own.

      When Israel went through the Red Sea, they were passing

UNDER and through the MIDST of a death. They were being

baptised, as it were, into death. Pharoah followed. But when

Israel came up out of the water, Pharoah did NOT. He was dead

and buried by the waters. In this we see that when God puts us

through these experiences, we do come up to newness of life. But

that is only possible because something which had controlled and

governed us of the flesh is left behind IN that death.

     God uses OUR "red sea" to bring us to the place of surrender

and death. We finally turn and face it. We surrender to God in it.

But because of that, we pass through it and come out the other

side FREE of everything God wants to put to death -- IN US.

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that

all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and

did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink of the same

spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them,

and that Rock was Christ. (I Cor. 10:1-4)

     Here we see a very real "baptism unto death." We are baptised

unto death through a trial, and God uses that very trial to set us free

from the old man in Adam. That experience is what it means to

actually SEE SALVATION. I am privledged to SEE made manifest

in me, the salvation which God gave me when I first accepted Christ.

Death Unto Life

     The ways of God are often ironic. They are not what we think.

We consider trials bad things. God says they are good. We want

out of trials. God says that He just got us IN. We think our enemy,

and our trial, is what needs to die. God says it is US who needs

to die.

     God is dealing with US. The issue is NOT the trial. The Red Sea

is not what God is concerned about. But God will USE the Red Sea.

He will use it as a vehicle for dealing with the real issue: US. He

will use it to show us we are free indeed.

     This requires that we must pass through a death. It will be scary,

for we will have high walls of water on each side of us. And it may

be awhile before we see the other side. But along with the real us

will follow that which is of the old creation. IT will be left in the sea.

IT must die. Yet that is the only way in which we can come up on

the other side FREE of it.

     If Israel had not passed through the Red Sea -- the very

instrument of death God was using -- then Egypt would not have

followed. And Egypt would have stayed alive. It was only because

Israel went into this "death" that Egypt died. And then they really

did SEE salvation. They saw the death of the old creation. They

saw newness of life.

The Way of Escape

     One of most people's favorite scriptures is the one in the New

Testament which promises a "way of escape" out of every trial. We

read it in I Corinthians:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:

but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that

you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to

escape that you may be able to bear it. (I Cor. 10:13)

     Read this passage carefully. Note the words, "God...will not

allow you to be tempted....." This is clearly saying that GOD has

you in this trial. HE is determining how much you are tempted. HE

is closely paying attention, and controlling what is going on with

you in the trial. He is paying such close attention that He knows

how much is too much. And He won't let it get to that point. He will

make a "way of escape."

     There is no gray area here. GOD is clearly in charge of this

situation. HE is deciding whether to get you IN -- or allow you to

get yourself IN -- and HE is deciding whether you should get out.

He holds the keys to the door of escape. He makes that way of

escape. We do not.

     Now one of the ways in which we get off the track with regard to

this scripture is to assume that this "way of escape" is referring to

merely the end of the trial. And we put pressure on ourselves to

somehow figure out where this "way of escape" is. Afterall, wanting

the trial to end is only understandable. It is human to do so.

     But alas. If you've been in a difficult trial, about the last thing you

seem to be able to find is a "way of escape." Indeed, one of the

most burdensome characteristics of a trial of faith is that there

seems to be NO solution or escape. That, after all, is what an

impossible situation IS.

     The fact is, if God were to get us into a trial, only to immediately

make a way of escape out of the trial, that would, at best, paint Him

as One who is confused, and, at worst, reveal Him to be one who

is playing games with us. But no. God has an intelligent purpose

for trials. Suffering isn't a game. It is real.

     The key to this passage is the EFFECT of the "way of escape"

which Paul describes. He says that God makes the "way of

escape" so that "you might be able to bear it." Bear what? Bear

the trial, of course.

     So here we have a "way of escape" which enables us to bear

our trial. But wait a minute. Isn't that a little odd? If the "way of

escape" is a way OUT of the trial, then how does it enable me to

BEAR the trial? What is there "to bear" if I'm OUT of the trial?

     So in this passage, the "way of escape" is clearly given as the

means by which we might bear a trial which would otherwise be

too much for us. The "way of escape" enables us to -- NOT get

out of the trial -- but to BEAR the trial. How can this be?

     Of course, there is a sense in which the knowledge that our trial

will end can enable us to bear it. If we know that God always has

a way of escape for us there can be much HOPE in that. Perhaps

this will enable us to bear the trial.

     But this seems a flimsy explanation. When I am in a trial, in the

midst of an impossible situation, perhaps greatly suffering, I may

take some hope in the fact that I realize it won't last forever. But in

the final analysis, I cannot get much mileage out of this. Some trials

are never going to end in this lifetime. We have to live in them now,

and the suffering they cause is quite real.

     The "way of escape" God provides MAY be a way OUT of a

trial -- eventually. But the "way of escape" mentioned in this verse

is not so much a way OUT of the trial as it is an ability to remain IN

the trial, and to bear it.

     In other words, God doesn't make us able to bear the trial by

taking away the trial. He makes us able to bear it by making us

strong IN it. And as we have seen, they way He does this is through

a death and resurrection. Through that, we become weak that HE

might become strong in us. Then we are able to bear all things.

Israel's Way of Escape

     Israel had a "way of escape" through the Red Sea, didn't they?

They got out of the trial they were in through that miracle. But if we

look at what is being taught here for us, it shows us exactly what

God means by the term "way of escape." It may be a way out of

our circumstances. But it is certainly much more. It is a way out of

the power of sin and death.

     Israel went through the Red Sea, and Egypt pursued them. Both

went down into that watery grave. But only Israel came up. As a

result, Israel from that day forward would "see the Egyptians no


     Israel had been totally free from bondage to the Egyptians since

passover night. When they walked out of Egypt the next morning,

they were as free as they were going to get. But at that point, it could

not be said that they would "see the Egyptians no more." To the

contrary, the Egyptians were acting as if Israel still belonged to

them. Another step was necessary before Israel, who was totally

free, would be able to live like they were free. Egypt and Pharoah

had to be dealt with.

     When we receive Christ, we are as free from sin and death as we

are going to get -- as a fact and a finished reality. But we aren't able

to live out that reality very well. Why? Because Pharoah won't let

us. Our old patterns of the flesh still operate as if nothing has

changed. God must therefore put us through various trials and

circumstances -- impossible trials -- which will make manifest in

us that which is already true: We ARE free of Pharoah. But we must

now learn to live like it.

     Thus we come to the Red Sea. It is here that this will happen.

It is here that we will discover that we are free from Pharoah. It is

here that we will SEE the SALVATION which we already possess

made manifest. And we will see it made manifest as we pass

through God's "way of escape."

     God's "way of escape" for Israel was that they had to go down

into a baptism unto death. Everything of Egypt which they had

known and which had possessed them went down with them. But

what came up was only Israel. Not Egypt. Through this we see

that God's real way of escape is through death and resurrection.

It is through death and resurrection that we escape that which had

formerly held us in bondage, and come up to a new freedom.

     It would hardly be a profitable "way of escape" if God merely

let us out of trials and we gained nothing from them. But no. God

does make a "way of escape" -- both from the trial itself and the

burden it brings. That way of escape is through the Red Sea. We

must pass through a process of death and resurrection, through

which we might SEE the salvation God has given us made more

real than it was before.

     Do you want a way of escape from your impossible situation?

Then, "Fear not, stand still, and you will see the salvation of the

Lord." But only if you "move forward" into a baptism unto death.

That is God's "way of escape:" Death and resurrection in Jesus


Working Out Our Salvation

     When we embrace Christ as Saviour, we are saved -- once for

all. For us, "It is finished." We cannot get MORE saved, or become

LESS saved. We are either born again or we are not. Carried with

this new birth is total and complete deliverance from the power of

sin and flesh. The fact we are free from these will never be more

true than it is the moment we receive Christ.

     The problem, however, is that we are not delivered from the

presence of the flesh. We do NOT cease to have the sin nature

because we are saved. Rather, we are no longer under it's power.

     So there is a conflict going on all the time. Sin has no power over

us, but it is still there doing what it has always done, trying to control

us. Thus, we must learn to stop yielding ourselves to it, and learn

how to yield ourselves to God.

     Freedom from sin is a finished fact. But just try to live as if you are

free from sin. You may be able to live free from sin for awhile, or in

certain areas, but you can't do it for long. If you've got the slightest

sensitivity to sin you will only come to realize how short you fall of

being truly free.

     So what do we usually do? Try harder. And then comes the

guilt and condemnation. We find that we are totaly failures. Yet how

can this be if we are actually FREE? Should we not be able to live

free if we ARE free?

     Eventually. But not at first. We are like prisoners serving a life

sentence who have suddenly been released into a world of

freedom. We find that we have been what is called,

"institutionalized." We know only one way to live, and that is like

a prisoner. We know only obedience to sin. Despite the fact we

are free, we don't know how to act like it. We don't know how to

BE free.

     And then there is a yet greater problem: Because we have been

so "institutionalized" by the flesh, we often don't BELIEVE we are

free. Afterall, we don't act like we are free. So maybe the sin in our

lives proves we aren't. Maybe all of this Christianity stuff is only a

mirage. Maybe it isn't real.

     The Truth is, we are either set free from sin or we are not. What

Christ has done is either real or it is not. We cannot have it both


     God uses the impossible situation so that the salvation He has

freely given us can be "worked out" and made manifest in and

through us. He makes it possible for us to actually SEE the

salvation of the Lord -- that is -- makes it possible for us to actually

live and experience it.

     God said that Israel would SEE salvation, but NOT see the

Egyptians any more after that day. In other words, the two go

together. As we see the death of sin made manifest in us, we also

see salvation. The one equals the other.

     "Seeing salvation" is not, of course, a one-time event. God

cannot make manifest His victory over sin and death in our lives

through only one trial. Thus, we will find ourselves at the Red Sea

many times -- in many different forms. But the purpose is the same:

To make manifest in us the salvation which we have been given in


Death and Resurrection

     God's four-fold solution in the impossible is actually a PROCESS.

It is an on-going process which occurs in our walk with Christ over

and over again. It is actually God's way of making the death and

resurrection of Jesus Christ real and manifest in our lives.

     This Truth is pictured all through the Bible. One significant place

where we see it is in Paul's letter to the Romans. There he says,

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ

were baptized into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him

by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the

dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in

newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the

likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His

resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that

he body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not

serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now, if we be dead

with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that

Christ being raised from the dead can die no more; death hath no

more dominion over him.

     Here we see a description of the fact of our death and

resurrection IN Jesus Christ. Note especially the words, "planted

together." These words have the literal meaning of "to cause to

grow together." In other words, ENGRAFTING is the sense. We

have been ENGRAFTED in the death and resurrection of Christ.

THAT is done. IT is finished. His death and resurrection is now

OURS. But because of that finished reality, everything which is

OF that death and resurrection operates in US. It is all part of a

growth process.

     Jesus said this. He said,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch

in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away: and every branch that

bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you

are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in

Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it

abide in the vine; neither can you, except you abide in Me. I am the

vine, you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in him, the

same brings forth much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing. If

a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is

withered. And men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and

they are burned. (Matt. 15:1-6)

     The result of "abiding in" or of "living in" Jesus Christ is that we

bear fruit. We bear fruit because as we abide in Him, we are

experiencing the results of having been "engrafted" into His death

and resurrection. As a result, His death and resurrection INVADES

us and a process takes place. We DIE and then are RAISED up

from one degree to another.

     Of course, this is all what it means to GROW spiritually. I am

already totally engrafted into Christ or I am not. Again, there is no

half-way condition here. I am either a new creation or I am still of

Adam. But if I am a new creation, engrafted into Christ, I must go

through a process whereby I grow to be conformed to Christ. It

is a very real death and resurrection process -- which results in

us SEEING the death of the old and the RESURRECTION of the


     It must be repeated: Salvation is a one-time event, as was the

Redemption which won it for us. But having received salvation, it

must now be "worked out" in us and through us. The death and

resurrection into which we are engrafted must invade us and do a

work in us. We have been totally delivered from Egypt and from

Pharoah. We ARE free. But now we must pass through many

"Red Sea experiences" where we will SEE that salvation. Where

we will actually experience and LIVE the victory which Jesus has


     As Paul said,

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that

the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we

which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the

life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So

then death works in us, but life in you. (II Cor. 4:10-12)

Moving Forward

     We now come back to a question asked earlier: Move forward?

Move forward to where?

     Move forward to Jesus Christ. Move forward to death. To

surrender and abandonment to God. To perhaps a place in faith

you've never been. But move forward to resurrection. To a new

freedom from Pharoah and his armies. To being able to walk in

the forgiveness of your sins and the freedom Christ has provided

in a greater way.

     Actually, this entire life of ours in Jesus Christ is a journey out of

Egypt to the promised land, and then on to glorifying Jesus Christ.

Thus, we are always moving forward. Always on a journey to a

destination in the purposes and will of God.

     The fact that God told Israel to "move forward" BEFORE He

opened to them the way holds great significance for us. It tells us

that God isn't going to tell us much ahead of time as to where He

is leading us, or as to how He will lead us. He simply says, "move

forward." It is only AS we do, that the way opens.

     Note that. We don't normally see the way BEFORE we "move

forward." We usually see it AS we move forward. God opens it

up perhaps only one step ahead of us. Consequently, it is correct

to say that many times we will not know where God is leading, and

we will not even know OUR next step until God opens it up.

The Way God Leads

     This is a Truth verified all through the Bible. But before we look

at that, let's ask a more basic question: WHY does God lead us

like that? WHY doesn't He simply tell us ahead of time what He is

going to do? Or what He wants US to do? Why the big secret?

     First of all, it is a fact that if God told us ahead of time what He

wanted to do, we'd mess it up. We might not think we would, but we


     Think about it. If God has a certain destination in mind for me in

His will, I am NOT YET there. I'm not there physically, or in my

circumstances.  But more importantly, I'm not there yet spiritually.

In order to get to the destination God intends, I must pass through

the experience of the journey. Indeed, in spiritual matters, it is most

often the JOURNEY that is more important than the destination.

     What I BECOME during that journey -- in Jesus Christ -- prepares

me and makes me spiritually fit to be able to live in the place of

destination. But if God told me all about the destination ahead of

time, before I take the journey, I will not have gained the experience

of that journey. I will not be spiritually equipped with those things

that I must have to understand the destination the way God intends

me to understand it. Thus, it will only be natural for me to begin to

rush ahead of God, or to resist Him. I will naturally begin to try to

control the situation -- all in the name of wanting to do God's will.

     Kids and young adults do this all the time. They do know much

about some of the responsibilities they will face as adults. Some of

them try to rush ahead and take them on too early. As a result, they

often create problems. They are trying to grasp a situation for which

they have no capacity. They must first grow up. They must first

benefit from the journey of growth before they reach the destination

of maturity. If they try to skip the journey, problems will result.

     Again, it is the JOURNEY God is after -- just as much as the

destination. Indeed, without the journey we cannot live in the

destination. We will not be equipped for it.

     So what we see here is that in God's leadings and purpose in

our lives, what we need is NOT information. We need GROWTH

and maturity.

     You cannot teach a child how to hold a job by giving them the

facts about how to hold a job. He cannot do it merely because he

has the info. Rather, he must grow into it. Then what he will have

BECOME what the facts suggested.

     Likewise, we must grow as we JOURNEY to our destination in

God's will, so that when we get there we will be fit for it. And God

knows that this means that He cannot tell us much ahead of time.

He has to take us one step at a time.

Walking By Faith

     There is a second reason why God does not tell us ahead of

time where He is leading us, or what He wants us to do. It also has

to do with the fact that the JOURNEY is as important as the

destination in God's will. Indeed, it speaks the what happens to us

during the journey. It is during the journey that we build faith. And it

is this faith which enables us to embrace and live in the destination.

     If God told us everything ahead of time, we might believe Him,

and even obey Him, and we might call that "faith." And it is faith,

since there is a measure of trust wrapped up in our believing God.

     But God wants much more than that kind of elementary faith. He

wants the kind of faith which will stand the test of eternity. And this

eternal faith can only be built by practice. We have to trust God

WITHOUT knowing and without seeing -- if we want to be able

to carry eternal faith with us to the ultimate destination God has for

us in the eternal ages.

     There is a verse which speaks to this point in the Bible, but which

isn't usually thought of in quite that way.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (II Cor. 5:7)

     The context in which Paul writes this verse is that while we are in

this body, living this life, we are not present with God -- not in the way

we will be when we pass on. So, in that sense, we must walk by

faith, for we do not yet SEE all that we will see. In other words, faith

carries with it the idea that I cannot now see God, but do believe that

God sees ME. And I trust that He is leading.

     Now, if God told us everything ahead of time, it is true that we

could still claim we don't yet see it. And that we need faith. But we

would nevertheless have a certain amount of "sight" -- in that we

would know where we were going and how we would get there.

But if we had not even that knowledge, but had to walk with God

WITHOUT knowing, then that would be an entirely new level of


     Here's the point. The above verse is talking about walking with

God. BOTH "walking by faith" and "walking by sight" are talking

about walking with God. This verse has no reference to NOT

walking with God. Thus, it is proper to say that there is a level of

walking with God that we can call "walking by sight." And there is

also a level which we can call, "walking by faith." BOTH are good

and legitimate. But they are not the same.

     What is the difference? Well, "walking by sight" is when I can

SEE God, and SEE where He is leading us. It is where we KNOW

what we are supposed to be doing. But "walking by faith" is when

we DON'T see God, and DON'T see where He is leading us. It is

when we DON'T know what we are supposed to do. BUT -- and this

is the bottom line -- we walk ANYWAYS. We don't know much

about where we are being led, but we trust the One leading.

     Now remember what Paul said. He said, "For we walk with God

by faith, and NOT by sight." In other words, the usual way God

leads His people is by expecting us to walk WITHOUT knowing

or seeing. THAT is the norm, rather than God telling us very much

ahead of time.

     But why? So that we might build faith. It is a universal principle:

The way to build faith is by walking by faith. Faith MUST be

chosen, and then tested. It is only as we STAND in faith against

all that would contradict it that we build faith.

     What we see here is once again the JOURNEY. We build faith

and it becomes a part of us, not when we reach our destination in

the will of God -- but on the JOURNEY getting there.

Faith is Eternal

     Now, if all there was to life was building faith, only to have it all

sort of "erased" upon death, then all of this would be quite futile.

But that's not what the Bible says happens. The Bible reveals that

the faith we build now is an ETERNAL quality. In other words, we

take it with us when we die.

     Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that when we

meet Jesus Christ face to face that we are still going to need to

exercise faith. No. Faith is only needed if you cannot see. THEN

we WILL see and know. We won't need to walk by faith, but will

have the ultimate sight and knowledge of Christ.

     This does not mean our faith was meaningless. Indeed, on

the JOURNEY we built this faith for a reason. It is this faith which

God built in us on our journey that enables us to fellowship with

Christ when we reach our destination. The one makes the other


     What we rightly call "faith" in this life, is MORE than what we can

know or grasp. It is really like a seed NOW, which has contained

within it a great plant or tree. In the eternal ages, the potential of

that "seed" will be released. It cannot be released now, but will be

released then to it's fullness -- like a seed which finally breaks forth

and grows to maturity.

     Thus, the faith which God builds in us during this life's journey

is MORE than we think. It carries in it eternal potentiality.

     That is why God seeks to build faith in us now. That is why God

puts us through all of these tests and trials. That is why He won't tell

us what we think we want to know, and requires that we walk without

seeing. He is building in us something eternal -- a faith which could

NOT be built if God told us everything, and made it easy for us to

see where we were going.

God's Norm

     God's normal way of leading is to NOT tell us too much, or let us

see too much ahead of time. We see this in our example of Israel at

the Red Sea, and we see in many other places in the Bible.

But your eyes shall see your teachers. And your ears shall hear a

word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when you

turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left. (Is. 30:20-21)

     Picture yourself walking along, not quite sure where you are

going. A voice BEHIND you shows you the way -- not in front of

you. In this we see that God often opens our eyes AFTER we take

a step -- and we find that He WAS leading after all.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own

understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall

direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD,

and depart from evil. (Prov. 3:5-7)

     Here we see that we must walk without trusting our own

understanding of that walk, and that if we do, God will "direct our

paths." Contrast this to God directing US. God will often direct the

path to us, rather than us to the path, so that we might grow in faith.

That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye

shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman

when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as

soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the

anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now

therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall

rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day you

shall ask me nothing. (John 16:20-23)

     Jesus is speaking of the fact that when we are in a trial, we have

our focus on the PAIN. We cannot yet see the purposes of God;

cannot yet see the destination -- because we aren't there yet. But

once a birth comes forth from our pain, then we KNOW. Thus, we

once again see that it is during the JOURNEY that we don't know or

see -- but must walk by faith -- so that when we get to the purpose

and DESTINATION we might be able to rejoice and live in the

purpose of God.

     We can also see the principle of walking by faith through many

of the instances recorded in the book of Acts, as well as through the

Old Testament, including the book of Psalms. How often do those

who wrote the Psalms cry out to God, "Where are you, Lord?" And

then, later, they rejoice when they see that God was there all the

time, taking them on a journey to a destination.

Forward to Death and Resurrection

     Israel "moved forward" on a journey through death and

resurrection, as typified by the Red Sea. And because they did

obey God, they left Egypt behind. They really did "see the

Egyptians no more."

     God was taking Israel on a JOURNEY. The destination was

to be the promised land. But it was the JOURNEY that prepared

them for this DESTINATION -- including the unfortunate forty year

journey in the wilderness.

     God also has us on a journey. It starts with when He deliberately

gets us into an "impossible situation." He says, "Fear not, only

believe." Then He says, "Now, stand still in your faith. Don't be

moved by what you are seeing and experiencing around you."

He says that if we will obey Him, that we will then begin to SEE

SALVATION. But only AS we "move forward."

     Yet to where do we "move forward?" To the culmination of

His purpose in getting us into the impossible to begin with. And

that is death and resurrection. WE go through that in order that

we might be set free -- to a greater degree -- from Egypt.

     Note that it is not the situation God is after. Yes, that is the

JOURNEY. But it is what He does in us THROUGH the situation

and ON the journey that God is after. THAT makes us fit for our

final destination, which is eternal fellowship with Christ.

     We are on that journey now. But we are also, in a parallel sense,

entering into the destination as well. Yet not in it's fullness. That is

yet to come. And it is accomplished through the impossible

situation. For it is in the impossible that we not only find God, but

that God finds US.

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