We got a “Pandemic Puppy” like most of the rest of the world. While the world had essentially stopped, our family (truly our kids) thought it was the perfect moment to get a dog. Winston Bishop Pitts has been a full family member for over a year now. Winston is half Yorkshire Terrier and half, Jack Russell. His demeanor reflects both.
Much like Superman, Winston can leap tall couches in a single bound. Yet, the other day while I was doing some DIY projects in the hallway, I preferred that Winston keep his paws out of the paint. So I set up a baby gate. Now let’s reflect: the dog can clear the entire couch with a single jump. The baby gate is only 18” tall. Yet, Winston glared and barked and growled at this little obstacle.
This truth of the matter, he could have pounced over the gate at any moment, but he never did. Instead, he just complained again and again over the gate that stood between him and the hallway.
Often in the Old Testament, there is a reflection back to the Red Sea crossing to remember how great Yahweh was to Israel. The Red Sea moment is sprinkled in the Psalms and the prophets. Pardon the crude connection, but God’s Red Sea moment is like Winston leaping the couch in a single bound. Yet, over and over, Israel finds itself with lesser obstacles and in bigger trouble. Israel has a God on their side who parts seas but finds themselves often face to face complaining of smaller challenges.
Sounds a little like us.
My theology leads me to believe that the Lord allows the obstacles to test our faith and learn to trust in Him. See Job. Other times, I think our choices and decisions lead us down paths toward challenges of our own making. So often, we sit in front of that gate of our life like Winston barking and complaining about the challenge of what is in front of us when on our side is God that can either remove the gate or get us over it. Yet, we fail to call on him.
The Old Testament reflection of the Red Sea was never a moment to state that God would duplicate the miracle. It is not a literal stand at your local river; grab a stick, and see if God will make a dry way. Instead, it serves as an anchoring point that no obstacle is too big for God. It serves as a reminder that God can make a way through drowning and death when caught between drowning and death. It was always to be a reminder that between God and obstacles, God wins.
The prophet Isaiah set out to remind Israel of the big miracle:
This is what the Lord says (Isaiah 43:17-19):
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
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:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
The Lord, via the prophet, was saying, “remember that Red Sea obstacle. Yeah, I took care of that. Now forget it because I am going to do something new.” He was not saying to forget who parted the Red Sea, no he wants them to remember the who, not get stuck on the what. Israel was face to face with new obstacles. They needed the Lord who parted the Red Sea to make a new way for them.
Sometimes we get so caught in what God has done that we fail to see what He is to do. The only reason to reflect on what God has done in our past is to serve as a reminder of his power in the present. I think we all need to get a little forgetful, not in his power but also the process. The miracle of today, the removing or maneuvering through the obstacle you face now, will not be performed the same way as before, but the power of God to do the miracle remains the same.
So as you stare at the gate like Winston, remember what is possible with God? Are you going to complain or trust that what God has done in your past is capable of doing in your present? Don’t let the little things keep you from the big things God has for you.
Jeff Pitts is a church planter in Cleveland, TN. He loves his family, coffee, and NEEDTOBREATHE.