Susan had been a good church-goer all her life. She was raised in the church and was a big part of the church. She turned up to every event and volunteered for every service opportunity. Everyone loved Susan. But Susan didn’t love God.
She had thought she did. But over several months, she gradually realized that although her Christianity was outwardly impressive, she was inwardly empty. There was lots of action and commitment, but no love or devotion. She knew about God but didn’t know God. She served Christ but had not been saved by Christ.
She was in turmoil, terrified to admit her emptiness to herself, her pastor, and to God. So what did she do?
First, she tried harder, doubling down on her church commitments: “I just need to try harder.” When that didn’t bring her closer to God or God closer to her, she gave up: “What’s the point in even trying, when nothing seems to work?” Then she blamed God: “After all I’ve done for you, and you don’t love me!”
Try harder, give up, blame God. Try harder, give up, blame God. This cycle continued for many weeks as Susan cycled downwards into a spiral of despair and hopelessness.
It's desperate isn't it. But God had a surprising answer and an amazing solution for Susan. It came in the form of a sermon her pastor preached on Exodus 14, especially verses 1-14.
Let's hear God's surprising answer and welcome God's amazing solution for Israel and Susan.
SALVATION IS NOT OF WORKS (1-13A)
Although helpless and hopeless is the last place we want to be, it’s the first place God wants us to be.
Is there any hope and help when we are helpless and hopeless?
SALVATION IS OF THE LORD (13B-31)
“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Ex. 14:13-14)
Is that not a surprising answer and an amazing solution? It was for Israel. It was for Susan. Is it for you?
When we are at our most helpless and hopeless, God is at his most helpful and hopeful.
LIVING THE BIBLE
Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He saved Israel from the sea, the soldiers and slavery. Stand still to move forwards, upwards, and inward.
Jesus can save you from trying harder, giving up, or blaming God. He can save you to trust God, hope in God, and love God.
Try harder and you’ll love less, trust harder and you’ll love more.
This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 6: Day 5 in Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcast.