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Losing Control: Fear

Sep 17, 2017 - Rev. Victoria Robb Powers

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In this famous story of God’s deliverance from the Egyptian army at the Red Sea, we read that Israel has traveled into the fire of their fears where they are in danger from the Egyptians once again and where only God is able to save them.

Pain and struggle are part of the human experience, and though we may often try to avoid it at all costs, pain is what often produces the virtues and character that we seek. Parents, in fact, aren’t responsible for preventing their children’s pain, but to instruct them and give them courage so that their struggles may make them the adults that we hope they will become.

Maybe that’s why the story says that God sent Israel to this dangerous place on the way to their Promised Land. They looked pain and fear in the eye with the sea in front of them and their enemy behind them, but God made a way for them through new creation – just as God’s Spirit blew over the chaotic waters at creation and divided water from land, so God’s wind blew over the sea to divide it and give Israel an escape.

Just like creation began in the dark, we need the darkness as much as we need light – our new life often begins in the dark night of suffering and pain. We don’t need to be afraid of the darkness of these experiences, but we can walk straight through them because we know they will contribute to us being the people God intended us to be – people of freedom and transformation.

We can take hope because God’s waters of new creation will always dismantle the machinery of war and regimes like Egypt that are built on forced labor, exploitation, and domination. As big and terrible as our fears and pains may be, those same powerful waters are doing God’s good work that will carry us to the other side.

Food for Thought:

  • Are you walking through a life chapter of darkness of suffering right now? Meditate on God’s deliverance in the Exodus story and God’s comforting presence in Psalm 23. Also, consider reading the book mentioned in yesterday’s sermon: Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.
  • The Exodus story has provided hope for many suffering peoples around the world. Though God delivered Israel from Egypt, it was only after generations of suffering. We must not lose hope, nor “grow weary in doing what is right” (Gal. 6:9), because God’s goodness will continue to its perfect fulfillment.

May you be emboldened to walk fearlessly toward the inevitable hardships of life, knowing that God will carry you to the other side and will be creating new life in you through every experience of difficulty. Amen.

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