by Sheila Keedy
Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the might waters- a pathway no one knew was there! Psalm 77:19 (NL)
We have a new puppy. Her name is Pearl and she is very strong-willed. (Eye roll!) She does not like to be told no and wants to go her own way. When we take a walk she has to be on a leash as she runs away if not and we end up chasing her around the neighborhood. (Double eye roll!)
The leash is her worst enemy. Pearl does not like following where we lead and the leash takes the brunt of her disapproval. She has literally dangled in the air as she’s jumped up and clamped down on the leash. Mercy! We are going to persevere through this and maybe one day she will come to trust that we are leading her down the best path and will follow more obediently. (And maybe we’ll be able to recover financially from the number of leashes we’ve had to buy.)
Actually, I’m sure I’m a lot like Pearl. Looking back over my life there have been paths that I did not want to travel. Miscarriages, breast cancer, loss of a 17-year-old niece, loss of a parent to name just a few. Many times though, on these difficult journeys were pathways to ministry, testimonies, sharing and caring. Pathways I didn’t know would be there, but found hope and joy again in that part of the journey. And best of all, growing in my relationship with my Healer, Comforter, Savior and Friend.
Over the last several months, I have worked my way from Genesis to Kings and Chronicles. I have read story after story in the Old Testament of people whose lives were changed by the power and presence of God. One example? Sarah at 90 years old having a baby! Only God could make a way for her when there seemed to be absolutely no way! As the journeys of others like Rahab or Ruth came to an end, I was ready to let out a cheer, or a hallelujah, what great things HE has done!
Because I see it from this perspective, beginning to end, I sometimes get detached from the difficult details of their stories – the parts where they resisted the path they were on. I revere them for being such amazing women of faith and perseverance, forgetting they would have struggled just as we do. They were real women, with real problems and I tend to overlook the reality and pain of their difficult journey because I know the outcome. They did not.
Eve – experienced the death of a son.
Sarah – had to wait for the promise of a child to be fulfilled.
Hagar – cast out and alone.
Leah and Rachel – dealing with sister rivalry. (and jealousy over a man????)
Rahab – wondered if there was hope for someone like her.
Naomi and Ruth – grieving the loss of a their respective husbands.
Hannah – longed for a child.
Tamar, David’s daughter and Tamar, Judah’s wife – wondering if there would be justice for what was done to them. (should you say “sexual abuse” or “rape” for those who may not know?)
Not to leave out the difficult pathways of a few women in the New Testament, think about these:
the shame of the woman caught in adultery,
the despair of the woman at the well as relationship after relationship fell apart,
the woman with the issue of blood searching for healing,
and the torment of Mary Magdalene before Jesus delivered her.
Am I trying to focus on their difficulties? Not at all. What I want to draw attention to is this: they had to travel down paths that they didn’t know how long it would last or where it would end.
We can take heart from their stories for many reasons, but most importantly because we see God was right there with them. He didn’t miss one part of their journey. In fact, their paths led to Him.
Genesis 16:13 So she, (Hagar), called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”
As we read their stories in Scripture, we get to see so many amazing attributes of God such as His faithfulness, grace and mercy. We get to see that He is Redeemer, Provider and full of love and compassion. We can be encouraged because what He did for them He will do for you and me.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
When it comes to our story, our journey, we are still in the midst of it. We may not see or understand the path He is taking us on. We struggle and resist. What makes it worse is we don’t know the outcome of our stories like we do those of of the women in Scripture, and we want God to fix things now! We want to know that what we’ve been through will be worth it. But, this is where faith comes in. Faith is believing in the unseen, the unknown.
Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV)
If you had asked Moses and Israel as they stood on the edge of the Red Sea what they saw, they would have said nothing but water in front and the enemy behind them. But what happened next changed everything!
“Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!” Exodus 14:21-22 (NLT)
There it is, a pathway no one knew was there.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
Whatever obstacle is in front of you,
whatever storm you may be facing,
whatever darkness lies ahead,
whatever deep waters you find yourself in,
there is a road unseen, unknown, a pathway you didn’t even know was there. And right there with you is the Lord leading you and walking with you, step by step. No matter how you struggle and resist, He will not leave nor forsake you. He will remain faithful.
Psalm 26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
One day, when we look back on the path He had us on, we’ll say along with the women in Scripture, hallelujah, what great things God has done!
Luke 1:46-49 “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,… for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Using the Scriptures below, pray them for your journey. They will comfort you and give you the courage to keep moving forward.
Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord, himself, goes before you and will be there with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;…
Psalm 31:14-15a But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God. ”My times are in your hand;…
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”