March on my soul, in strength
A few months ago there was a baby in our community fighting for his life. He was born deceased, without vitals. Through nothing short of the miraculous hand of God, the baby boy was brought back to life.
The coming weeks and days were a new battlefield of prayer and faith, for his sustenance, healing, and the reverse of any damage done during the minutes without oxygen and blood flow.
Thousands of people gathered (remotely) around this child and his family, to pray life and God’s healing, intervention and blessing. Each day new miracles would testify of the attentive and detailed work of God, the great physician.
After a few critical days, each new medical report was like a lunge forward into seeing what God was doing — stepping into the victory everyone felt was eminent.
One of the reports (an MRI) came back less than ideal. This report didn’t show the same pace of recovery and healing as all the others had been laying out so clearly. The former reports had been like a pathway to move forward on. But this one did not follow suit.
I wasn’t part of the immediate family of this child, but to hear of the adverse news felt like a blow. God had done so much already; why the setback? Were prayers not heard? Was God slow to fulfill His promises? Had someone done something wrong? (Side note: the minute you start assessing your ability instead of God’s, you can be sure you’re thinking is going to be unfruitful.)
It felt like being on a pathway of light out of something that was as dark as death, and then having the enemy show back up in the rear-view.
A reflex overwhelmed my heart that said something to the effect of, “I thought this had been dealt with, how is this back in the picture?”
Immediately, the Lord brought to mind scriptures from Exodus 13 and 14 that encouraged my heart on how to bring encouragement into the situation and how to navigate it in prayer and faith.
If you’ve ever felt like an enemy, situation or circumstance, that you’ve dealt with has shown back up in the rear-view, then this is for you:
“The Israelites actually marched as tribal armies as they exited slavery”
The Book of Exodus details the account of God’s chosen people, the Israelites, coming out of a place of slavery and into a place of promise. At the onset of the story, God works amazing signs and wonders that create a pathway forward for the Israelites to leave the chains and demands of oppression.
All is well in that. The Word says the Israelites actually marched as tribal armies as they exited slavery. I love that.
Just think about that...Israel went from marching as slaves to the beat of whips and the pace of task masters, to marching as armies adorned in the plunder of treasure taken back and to the rhythm of hope in Lord. What a contrast.
Not long after that, the army of task masters, torturers and oppressors that they had fled victoriously from, shows back up (Egypt in the Exodus story).
The pain of yesterday so quickly forgotten, now chasing and yelling down God’s own people.
Exodus 14:10-11 says, “when they (God’s people) saw the Egyptians marching after them, they were frightened....and they said, “is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?”
In a moment of fear, God’s people went from acting like chosen warriors and victors to petty slaves.
When the old task masters came back in their line of sight, God’s people were voluntarily taking off their plunder and putting back on their chains (in their hearts and minds).
At the first sign of their past showing up, they succumbed to that old fearful nature and assumed that death was eminent.
It’s comical to read about them having such absent faith, despite all the signs and wonders of the Lord. How often are we this way?
How often do I personally forget that God has already given me a crown of favor and beauty and then when adversity shows up, I just end up acting like a slave to fear and strap my shackles and chains back on again?
We all do this.
There’s two things we can learn from their steps that inform our steps, which the Lord made clear to me:
1. You cannot control what you see, but you can choose what you fix your eyes on.
Exodus 13: 21-22 says that “the [presence of the Lord] was going before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so they could travel both day and night. He did not withdraw the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from going before the people. “
This means that when the enemy showed up in their camp, God was still visibly present via pillar of cloud, ahead of the Israelites. showing them the direction to go. God didn’t go anywhere, they just momentarily chose to let fear become what they would fix their eyes upon. They put on their “fear glasses” and tossed the “faith” ones out the wilderness window.
Choosing fear will always make you forget the presence of God, no matter how close, how visible or how tangible He makes himself known and available to you.
2. You cannot control what you hear, but you can choose what you will listen to.
Israel heard the sounds of warfare from the enemy in their camp. We all hear sounds of warfare from the enemy in our camp (life). But if that’s all we hear then we to we fail to listen to the word of the Lord.
God had told Israel, in Exodus 6, “ I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will free you from their bondage. I will redeem you and rescue you... and I will take you for my people, and I will be your God.”
But the chariots and shouting so quickly faded out the promises and provisions their hearts had been set on just moments before. Distinguish what you’re listening to, because there’s plenty vying for an audience with you.
Sisters, we cannot choose what we hear or see, but we can choose what we fix our eyes on and what we listen to. Our ability to move forward will be defined by how we inform our heart of what is going on— which lense or set of glasses we choose to wear (fear or faith).
Your heart moves ahead of your feet, so tell it what’s true by setting your eyes on truth and tuning your ears to truth.
The Truth for all who are in Christ is that:
God’s with you. God’s plans are still true for you. God’s not slow to fulfill His promises. The adversity of today doesn’t negate who He was yesterday, today and tomorrow. What looks like setback doesn’t change sovereignty. What feels so grave doesn’t begin to touch His glory, nor his goodness.
The baby boy mentioned above continued to make incredible strides, despite that particular report. He’s actually home and thriving, exceeding all odds and outcomes.
When Israel chose to step forward in faith, God quite literally drowned out the sound and sight of the fears incited by the camp of the enemy (Exodus 14:26-28).
The Word says it is impossible to please God without faith; the Word also demonstrates that God moves in and through the faith of his children. God only asks us to step forward and he takes care of the ahead and the behind.
As Deborah the prophetess says in Judges 5:21, “March on my soul, in strength.”
Before you know it, your tiny step of faith will start to look like a march again. March on in strength, sister.