I remember as a kid traveling and stopping at rest areas that had the map of the state we were in and seeing the little arrow with the words, “You are here”.
• You can find it in mall maps
• And now most of our cell phones have that capability
Yet despite all of our technology, we can’t seem to answer the question, “Why are we here?”
• That is the most important question of all
• We can face those times when our “You are here” arrow has put us in a difficult place when we have the “Why are we here?” question settled in our hearts!
That arrow sometimes it seems places us in an impossible situation
• Life is filled with twists and turns
• Those moments of desperation where we have to stand against the impossible!
We love rooting for the underdog in books, movies and TV, we just don’t like being the underdog
• Ladies and Gentlemen, I hate to inform you but we are the underdog!
• Society is not cheering us on and in fact they are betting on us to lose!
We are in an impossible situation to overcome (on our own)
• We have a cause worth standing for
• We have a cheering section
• Hebrews 12:1(NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
• God is looking for some heroes who grasp, “Why we are here?”
• True Miracles come when we understand the why and the where!
The time has come for Christians to quit sitting in the recliner of complacency, put down the remote of contentment and take a stand!
• Just watching from the sidelines as things get out of hand
• Somewhere the thought has to come in, “Maybe I should do something about it?”
• Maybe there is a reason I find myself here in this situation?
Exodus 14:1-2 (NIV)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.
God had just miraculously set His people free by a mighty demonstration of His power
• God had miraculously set them free from the bondage and oppression
• Here we find God’s “chosen” people as underdogs facing an impossible situation
• The enemy changed his mind and tried to pursue and intimidate them back into the old bondages
• They face their enemies marching to take them. On each side are tower of rocks and desert while on their back is the Red Sea. They are literally surrounded and they have little time to find the solution for their escape.
Calling in a military strategist they would have been told you have 3 options
• Surrender- to your situation and learn to live with it (go back into bondage)
• Muster what strength you have and fight back in defiance (You will probably die)
• Scatter and delay death/capture as long as possible. Maybe a lucky few will actually get away
But that wasn’t God’s instructions or His plan
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. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
God’s strategy was not what a logical military leader would suggest
• DO NOT BE AFRAID – (Keep the white flag in your pocket)
• STAND Firm – (Don’t try to fight under your own power or run and hide)
• Stand still and see the salvation of your Lord (Stand right where my “You are here” arrow has put you)
We have all had those times that we look around and realize we are the underdog
• We love reading the stories in scripture of the underdog facing impossible odds
• However in life when we are cast in that role we are not excited, fear and worry (even anger) naturally creeps in
But what if we could somehow look beyond that and rest in the knowledge that God is faithful!
(The worst the situation, the greater the miracle we get to watch)
Many times we find ourselves where we did not intend to go due to circumstances are beyond our control
• Something as simple as the ringing of a phone, a card in the mail, or a knock on the door can completely put our day and even life on a different path.
• We suddenly fall into a world of worry.
• Someone defined worry as a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind, cutting a channel into which all other thoughts flow.
• The preacher John R. Rice said, “Worry is putting question marks where God has put periods.”
• Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called worry “a form of atheism, for it betrays a lack of faith and trust in God.”
How can you not worry?
• When you have a son who is in the military being inserted into deadly situations around the globe?
• How can you not worry when your outflow exceeds your income, and the creditors are calling?
• How can you not worry when your loved one is diagnosed with cancer?
• How can you not worry when your job is terminated, your child is troubled, or your safety is at stake?
• To put it in line with our text, how can you not worry when the Red Sea faces you, the desert surrounds you, and the soldiers of Egypt are speeding towards you with drawn swords?
You Are Here (for a reason):
In the story of the Red Sea, the Israelites followed the pillar of cloud and fire as carefully as possible, thrilled with their new freedom, full of excitement about the future.
• Yet as they followed Him, God deliberately led them into a strategic nightmare between hostile hills, to the edge of a sea too deep and too wide to be crossed.
• When we read our text today there is no doubt, they were standing right on the “You are here” arrow God himself had led them to.
• He gave them specific, step-by-step instructions, leading them down a route to apparent ruin: Yes, right there in that impossible place.
The Lord occasionally does the same with us, testing our faith, leading us into hardship, teaching us wisdom, showing us His ways.
• Our first reaction usually is to panic, but we must learn to use scriptures and God’s promises as a spiritual GPS.
• Trust that He led us here for a reason
• When you are in a difficult place, realize that the Lord either placed you there or allowed you to be there for a reason.
• The same God who led you in will lead you out.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
In other words, Christians shouldn’t be surprised when, in seeking to do God’s will, we find ourselves trapped in painful, frightening, difficult, or impossible situations.
• Life is hard—especially for Christians.
• (If you were sold on the butterflies and rainbows version of the gospel somebody lied to you)
• We have a determined enemy seeking to devour us.
John 16:33 (NIV)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Sometimes the spot we find ourselves in may seem more than we can bear, but Christ can bear them.
The first step toward “parted waters” is to frequently remind ourselves that the Lord has either put us in this difficult place or has allowed us to be there for eternal reasons.
• He has the big picture in mind that we do not see
• Our job is simply to trust and obey!
South African pastor Andrew Murray (late 1800s – early 1900’s), while facing a terrible crisis wrote in his journal:
• First, He brought me here, it is by His will that I am here: in that fact I will rest.
• Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.
• Then, He will make this trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
• Last, in His good time He can bring me out again— how and when He knows.
• Then he wrote out four key points
Let me say I am here…
• By God’s appointment
• In His keeping
• Under His training
• For His time
Have you seen God’s power at work in the past? Experienced His forgiveness? Enjoyed His presence?
• The same God who has carried you this far isn’t going to drop you now.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)
If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
• He has promised never to leave you or forsake you, never to forget, never to abandon. His love never ceases, and His care never stops.
• So when you find yourself in that difficult spot, remember: you are there by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, and for His time.
• And despite everything your eyes and emotions are telling you, there is no better place to be!
You Are Here (by fault)
What if we have landed in this tough spot not because the Lord directly led us there, but because we followed our own noses? We sometimes cause our own pain. Our problems often result from sheer selfishness or stupidity. What then?
What If it’s My Fault?
• God didn’t lead me into my situation, my own sin and wrong choices did!
• I’m standing at this point on my life’s map as a direct consequence of my own free will!
Imagine how God must see us sometimes:
• A diet of nothing but pizza and Twinkies, “God why did you make my body so sickly?”
• “God, I’m drowning in financial despair”, but you keep buying more stuff on credit
• I could go on…
The good news is our God is a God who not only forgives, but takes on our mistakes and folds them into His plan for us and charts our course directly from where we are at, back into His will, all the while making good come out of it!
• Serious and sincere repentance routes us back into God’s will.
• Confession is like a shortcut from the wayward path back to the straight and narrow road of Christ. (Like a spiritual GPS rerouting)
• When we genuinely repent of our sins, they are cast as far from us as east from west. Our hearts are cleansed, and our fellowship with God is restored.
• Certain consequences may linger, but the Lord will somehow use even those for good. Healing may still be needed, but the Great Physician is more than capable.
This sounds all wonderful but what about when a seemingly good person loses their life despite their trust in God?
Isaiah 57:1 (NLT)
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Robert Morgan- Red sea rules
Red Sea Rule #1: Remember that God, in His overruling providence, has allowed you to be where you are at this moment.
Even if it is all your fault, He will still use that to teach you a lesson and a point of encouragement to get back on the correct path.
You Are Here (for His glory):
Red Sea Rule #2: Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief!
Exodus 14:3-4 (NIV)
Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." So the Israelites did this.
The next time you’re overwhelmed, instead of asking, “How can I get out of this mess?” try asking, “How can God be glorified “here” in this situation?”
• Our perspective is entirely changed once we learn to shift our focus to the real reality of the situation.
• It’s like switching on floodlights in a dark stadium.
God deliberately put the Israelites into that situation for the purpose of demonstrating the power He wields over both His enemies and the elements. For His Glory!
• Make no mistake, He has the right to do so!
• But we also have to remember how much He loves us
Picture that evening…
• Moses stretches out his staff and something begins to stir in the moonlight as the sea’s spray begins to move with purpose until the waters divided and the sea floor appeared as dry ground.
• His glory rose up among His people as liquid walls rise up before the wide-eyed Israelites
• His glory right here in this moment became songs and stories for a thousand generations.
You, too, can view your problem as an occasion for God to work wonders.
I know He tries me only to increase my faith, and that is all in love. Well, if He is glorified, I am content. —J. HUDSON TAYLOR (missionary to china 1900’s)
For example, In John 9, when His disciples met a man blind from birth, they asked, “How did this man get into this situation? Why did it happen? Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born this way?”
• In answering, Jesus said in effect, “You’re asking the wrong question. This man was born blind so that the glory of God could be displayed in his life.”
• Jesus then anointed the man’s eyes with mud, which he was to wash away in the pool of Siloam and from then on He could see. (Imagine how thankful he was for what we take for granted)
• Later, in John 11, we read of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who sent Christ an urgent message regarding their brother, Lazarus, who was dying. By the time Jesus arrived he was dead.
• The sisters said in a tone of disapproval about the matter, “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.”
• Jesus saw things differently. He explained in verse 40, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
• Then He raised Lazarus from death to life to the glory of God.
• Remember, death is not the end if Jesus is involved!
If you get anything from today’s message, get this…
• God doesn’t waste suffering.
• If He leads us into impossible spots, He will deliver us in His own time, in His own way, and for His glory.
• Our job in those “You are here” moments is to learn our Jesus’ simple prayer in the garden:
Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
We have to remember…
• Your current pain may just be setting the enemy up for a devastating defeat in your life!
• The Lord devises ways of turning difficulties into deliverances and problems into praise.
The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, except when we see them in the wrong light. —BROTHER LAWRENCE
Like the experience of the Israelites at the Red Sea, the worst moments in our lives may actually be our greatest, for the Lord is in the business of delivering His people…
• In His own way
• In His own time
• For His own glory.
Psalm 34:18-19 (NIV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
So now, instead of asking, “How can I get out of this spot?” ask, “How can God be glorified right here and right now?”
We can ask that if we remember the 4 things God never says
• I’ll be right back
o Hebrews 13:5,6 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
o (5 Negatives) “No, I will not leave thee; no, neither will I not (ever) utterly forsake thee.”
• I didn’t see that coming
o Jeremiah 1:5(ESV)
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you
• I don’t know what’s going to happen next
o Matthew 26:34 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
o “I don’t know what the future holds but I do know who holds the future!”
• Sorry, there is no hope!
o Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.