A Messy Miracle


If you know me at all, you know one thing about me for sure…I’m slightly obsessed with The Bible. I love everything about it. Reading it, teaching it, praying it, memorizing it, imagining it, digging beneath the surface and investigating it. One of my absolute favorite things to do when reading scripture is to try to put myself on the scene of the crime. I want to imagine and visualize every detail from every angle. What it looks like, sounds like, smells like. I want to feel like I actually walked right into the scene wearing 3 inch heels while Peter rolls his eyes at me not understanding what it’s like to be 5 foot 3.

As much as I make it a custom to visualize the text, some stories are just so beyond believable that, although I have heard them a million times, I’ve never stopped to imagine what they would actually look like in real life. For example, a demon possessed man running around buck naked & foaming at the mouth? Not really interested in that picture. Naked Noah drunk in the tent with his sons? I’ll pass. I realize just now that theres a common thread of nudity in those examples, but there are plenty of other stories in the Bible that I’ve never truly seen in the theater of my imagination. Let me give you another example where everyone’s got their clothes on. There’s a powerful point in this story that I have overlooked for my entire life, until now.

In Exodus 14 we find Moses & the children of Israel being pursued by the very powerful Egyptian army. Remember, the Israelites have been slaves to the Egyptians for quite some time and have been treated brutally. Abused. Degraded. Oppressed. All that and more. They’ve been in a really dark place for far too long. Then, after hearing their cry for help, God has responded by sending Moses to rescue them.

Fast forward past ten plagues and you now find Moses & roughly two million Israelites on the run, being chased down by a mighty army. This is the part of the story that I’ve heard so many times, but never fully imagined till last week. Suddenly, the men who held the Israelites captive for so long are right on their heels and terror overtakes them. In the rearview mirror is a life of torture & bondage, but in front of them is a sea so massive that the thought of moving forward seems like diving into death. Moses assures them that victory is on the other side, but they can’t see the other side…all they see is what stands in their way. It seems insurmountable. All they can think is “I knew this freedom thing was too good to be true!” The “what if’s” were endless.

Have you every been in that place? Ever escaped a miserable, terrifying or unhealthy situation in life only to be faced with a challenge so big that you considered going back? Ever been so close to a breakthrough and been tempted to make a u-turn because you thought carrying that old burden of despair might be better than risking the disappointment that could accompany hope? To some people, the only thing worse than the pain of the past is the fear of the future. Can you see it?

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’” (Exodus 14:10-12)

For the first time, I really and truly saw this picture. Roughly TWO MILLION people standing at the shore of what seemed like the biggest body of water they’d ever seen. Moses stretches out his staff and the waters blow back, forming a path of dry ground so long that the end cannot be seen. How far till the other side? And how do we know what’s over there? Beyond that, how do we know that we won’t get halfway across only to have these walls of water collapse upon us?

I can see it so clearly. Two million slavery survivors, scared to the bone. Over and over, they look ahead at the Red Sea and then look back over their shoulder. Back and forth they look and urgently wonder, “What is worse? The pain of the past or the fear of the future?” In the end, we know what they choose. They choose to take a first step. And then another. With miles of water on the left and right, on every side is reason to fear. Yet, with every step they take, they become committed to their decision. I imagine that at a certain point, slow and pensive footsteps turn into chaotic sprinting, stumbling over one another. They run in fear, yet they run on.

To me, there is something so profound about this moment. As the children of Israel walk right through the center of the Red Sea on dry land, there is so much fear and chaos that they don’t even realize that they are standing in the middle of a miracle that will be told till the end of the earth! After hearing this story many times, the Holy Spirit revealed to me a truth that I had never seen. Often times, the middle of a miracle feels more like the middle of a mess. As they passed through the waters, all they felt was fear. Every step was soaked in sheer terror. It wasn’t till they got to the other side and watched the water wash over the army that pursued them, that they realized the God of Heaven had just performed the miraculous on their behalf.

I don’t know where you are in you life’s path, but I want to remind you that sometimes miracles are messy. I just want to encourage you to keep moving. Even in the middle of chaos, fear and uncertainty, keep moving. Moving toward freedom. Moving toward obedience. Moving toward the promise of God. Don’t look back and certainly don’t GO back. Tell fear to be quiet and even if it refuses, just know that it’s a liar. Feelings are dishonest and can’t be trusted. Break up with your emotions, eat some ice cream and keep moving. Stop believing that it’s too good to be true. Stop waiting for the water to crash back over you. No matter what you may feel, if you continue to walk the path of obedience you will see the God of Moses act on your behalf.

Most often, you don’t know a miracle is happening while it’s happening. It doesn’t feel miraculous till you get to the other side and look back at that bodies floating in the water and realize, that should be you. Be encouraged…the middle of a miracle always feels more like the middle of a mess, but on the other side, you will see it and rejoice.

It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. (Hebrews 11:29 NLT)


~ by oraia on March 26, 2014.

8 Responses to “A Messy Miracle”

  1. So good. Timely post. Thank you.

  2. This is GREAT Oraia!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Awesome Word!
    Needed this!

  4. Life changing – powerful

  5. I saw this post the other day but didnt get a chance to read it until tonight. God reminded me of it today while on facebook. So needed it. Thanks.

  6. Oraia,
    Interested to know how you study the word. I grew up “in church” but recently have had a major revelation… New perspective of you will. I’m beginning to look at the word of God through a new set of eyes. I’m hungry to know more and study the word, but I’m
    Not sure how to start. What’s your process? Do you read and note your thoughts? do you use commentaries? Help! 🙂

  7. This is Great lady!

  8. Great post. I have seen a miracle! It was a small one but no doubt a true miracle. I tell the story on my blog. http://smellslikebutterscotch.com/2014/09/02/fishing-for-miracles/

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