We love and serve the God of Miracles! Last week, we learned the foundational basics about what miracles are, what their purpose is, how we should respond to them, and were warned to be cautious of counterfeits.
Today, we’re learning about an incredible type of miracle that God often performed throughout our history and one that He is able to do for us today.
Many times throughout the course of our lives we feel stuck. Your heart is longing for something more, but you just can’t seem to get from where you are to where you feel you belong. It is an overwhelming and disheartening feeling and perhaps one of the biggest thieves of hope out there.
When we feel stuck, we become discouraged and begin to lose heart. We begin to lose the courage to break free and eventually, we even lose the strength to continue on even where we are.
A few days ago, Nate was mowing our yard. The mower sounded odd, so I looked out the window. Directly below me, Nate had our riding mower stuck on a little slope. I watched from above as he had the RPMs high and had the pedal to the floor rocking it back and forth.
With all of the noise and movement and mud-slinging, he was making absolutely no forward progress. He just kept digging a rut deeper and deeper.
I went out, took the throttle all the way down, and had him slowly push the gas pedal. The mower climbed right out and on he went.
How many of us are living lives that look just like that. We have a vision of what our lives ought to look like and what we should be accomplishing. We push hard and do everything in our own strength to get there, but we find ourselves worn out, frustrated, and going nowhere.
Even when we take a step forward, we know that if we let up at all, we’ll just end up two steps back. We feel like the world is just pressuring us from every side.
Thankfully, God is the Way Maker. In fact, He is THE Way.
We now turn to one of God’s best known Way Maker miracles. God’s people were feeling very much like you may be right now. In fact, they were literally stuck. They were physically trapped between a sea, two mountains, and an angry army set to kill them all.
They cried out in terror to the Lord and in anger against Moses, who had lead them to that place. Imagine God also speaking to you this same word of truth and encouragement.
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
God, the Way Maker, went on to miraculously make a way where there was no other way.
For an entire night, He divided the sea so that His people crossed the sea on dry ground with a wall of water to their right and left. After the last watch of the night, the sea collapsed and killed the entire Egyptian army. He did it all as Moses simply stretched out his hand as God commanded Him to.
God was glorified, His people were saved and delivered, and justice was administered.
When we are feeling stuck and nothing that we do seems to make a difference, we can turn to the Way Maker! God is able to make a way where there is no other way and to set our feet on the solid ground that we need to move forward.
God is able to make a way for us even in our sin and rebellion.
God worked miracles for generation after generation, but still His people just didn’t get it. Even after powerful miracles of God were told of all over the world, His people were still set on living their own way and ignoring Him. God said:
19 Who is blind but my servant,
and deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one in covenant with me,
blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention;
your ears are open, but you do not listen.”
22… this is a people plundered and looted,
all of them trapped in pits
or hidden away in prisons.
They have become plunder,
with no one to rescue them;
they have been made loot,
with no one to say, “Send them back.”
God’s people ignored Him and as a result, they were stuck. They were trapped and they could not get out on their own nor would anyone else help them. We all can very easily find ourselves in that same place in life.
However, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God is a Way Maker. He forgives sin and is slow to anger. He is gracious and faithful and constant. God is the God of Miracles!
If you are feeling stuck, don’t lose heart and don’t give up. Even if you feel like you deserve to be stuck where you are, don’t believe that lie anymore! Even if you are stuck as a result of some bad choices, there is still hope. This is what God says to you!
1 But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you,
he who formed you,:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
16 This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
When we are stuck and choose to call on God, He comes to our rescue! God is the Way Maker and He is able to make a way where there is no other way. He truly is the God of Miracles! When we decide to lay down our own lives and take up His plans and purposes for us, stuff starts to happen!
When God begins to move, it doesn’t necessarily look like the busy and loud chaos that we create when we try to make things happen.
When God begins to move, it is often in a simple and peaceful way, but with huge progress being made. Just like our riding mower analogy earlier, sometimes slow and steady perseverance is the only way to make forward progress.
When God parted the Red Sea, the people simply walked on. Moses simply raised his hand. The people transitioned from crying in terror expecting to die to singing a new song of praise to God! When God moves, He changes our mourning to singing, our wailing to dancing, and our anxiety to joy.
God is a Way Maker! He is doing a new thing, but do we perceive it? He is making a way, even in our wilderness.
Consider this thought. When God performs a miracle to make a way for us, it may not necessarily mean what we think that it does.
His way change for us may not be a physical one, but a mental one. He may not part the Allegheny River for us to cross. He may not even direct us to a new job or relationship or major or any other significant life decision.
You may be walking a path, but feeling stuck because you are simply missing the purpose for which you are on that path! God’s way for you may even be to re-walk the path that you just walked.
Consider this example of the trap and rut of chaotic busyness and the need for God’s quiet, Way Making miracle.
Elijah had just displayed God’s power through a miraculous offering-burning showdown between God and the false god Baal. Following this, he prayed and ended a drought on the land. Yet another miracle!
However, he was found in a state of fear and depression praying to God that he would die. He traveled for forty days and nights running away from Jezebel’s threat against his life. He made it to Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Kings 19:9-18
9 … And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
Busy, busy, terribly busy, yet stuck. Not only did he feel stuck, but he was running in fear of his life trapped. God wondered what he was doing in such a place. Time for the solution!
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Again, God asks what Elijah is doing in this stuck place.
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
Back to focusing on the busyness and repeating again all that he had accomplished. How did God, the Way Maker, respond?
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
God, the miraculous Way Maker, directed Elijah to go back the way that he came. You see, it wasn’t that Elijah had physically gotten off course. He went the right way, but for the wrong reason. He missed the purpose for why God had him on the path that he was on.
Perhaps it isn’t a new spouse, new job, new salary, new house, new anything that we need. Perhaps it isn’t some big life change that needs to take place in order for us to become un-stuck, but rather our purpose and perspective toward where we are at.
Perhaps it is stepping away from the busyness and into the presence of God where we hear His still small voice and understand what we’ve been missing. This will take our eyes off of what feels to be overwhelming, routine tasks and back onto the ultimate mission that God has placed you there for. Only then will we find fulfillment and get our lives unstuck.
Elijah was trying to do things that were not his calling. He was called to anoint three men who would resolve the concerns that Elijah was trying to deal with himself. God’s way for Elijah was to go back and to get it right this time. It was to keep his eyes fixed on his purpose and God’s Presence and not on the problem.
Perhaps this is also your key to getting unstuck. Perhaps the miracle that God desires to do in your life right now is to show you the way of His purpose. Perhaps God is not asking you “Why are you here?” as if though you made a wrong decision along your path. Perhaps God is asking you, “What are you doing here?” to redefine your purpose for why you are on this path.
May the God of Miracles reveal His plans and His purposes for where you are right now. May He be your guide as you experience the miraculous hand of the Way Maker.