In my Bible reading today I was on the part when the Israelites cross the Red Sea (Exodus 14). I got a sense of how stressful that must have been in the moment.
God purposefully put the Israelites thereat the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-2) and told Moses that Pharaoh was going to come after them (vv. 3-4). I don’t know whether Moses got to tell the Israelites that last part, but either way they were very afraid and upset when it happened (vv. 10-12). Moses told them not to be afraid, but to stand still because God would fight for them and they’d never see the Egyptians again (vv. 13-14).
I’m not sure how much that encouragement did or didn’t do for the people. Some might have been too caught up in their fear for it to do much good, but it might have helped many to realize that things were going to be fine. After all, God did a lot of powerful things back in Egypt, why not here, too?
But really, imagine he military might of Egypt is coming after you and your people for vengeance and you have literally nowhere to run because of the landscape. Apparently God wanted you here for who knows what reason, and you might die. Then Moses says, “No, it’s fine. God’s still here.” At this point you don’t know what God has planned, but you know He’s going to fix the problem.
And fix it God did! But not immediately. But meanwhile God’s presence stood between Israel and their enemies (vv. 19-20).
Imagine seeing the giant, fiery, glowing cloud of God’s presence going over and standing between you and your enemies. Then imagine hearing and feeling the wind and seeing the Red Sea start parting in front of you (v. 14). It’s an obvious straight path to the other side! Maybe you wonder if it’ll be muddy, then you find it’s perfectly dry! Maybe the idea of water on either side of you would be nerve-wracking. What if it just falls back down? But then again, God parted it for you, and even made sure it was easy to walk through, so why wouldn’t He make sure you’re safely across?
Then imagine realizing God has allowed the Egyptians to follow you (v.23). What’s that all about?! I thought God was making sure we were safe! But He is! Once the Egyptians are in the middle, God lets the waters collapse back over them, completely making sure His people are safe and keeping His word about them never seeing the Egyptians again (vv. 24-30).
Then something important happened afterwards in the next chapter (Exodus 15). Everyone praised God for what He’d done for them! They repeated the story to each other in song and celebrated God’s protection and goodness.
Through all this I see that just because God leads us into stressful situations doesn’t mean those things can’t be good. He does this to show His power and to teach us something good, and in response we should acknowledge and praise God’s power and goodness.