Aug 15

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Deliverance and Personal Partings of the Red Sea

How many times have I sat in a Sunday School class and heard the story of the Lord’s deliverance of the Children of Israel through the Lord’s prophet, Moses through the Red Sea when the class discussion focused on how they grumbled in the wilderness? It is easy to judge the Israelites’ lack of faith because I know the end of the story and all the details leading up to that end. However, my greatest concern is this: will my faith endure in my current life-journey when I don’t know the end or the details leading up to it. I don’t know if the Lord will part the current Red Sea challenges in my life.

I have seen the Lord repeatedly perform small partings of the Red Sea for me; when I am safely on the other side, I’m grateful, but I wonder if I will survive the subsequent trials. While these smaller scale “sea partings” are not nearly as dramatic as in the scriptures, yet they are no less miraculous. Even though I clearly see the hand of God through these miraculous events in my life, afterward I often doubt (and even grumble like the Israelites did?). Yet I still have found it easy to judge the Children of Israel for their lack of faith. Am I really any different than the early Israelites? It seems I have some of the same weaknesses, doubts, and fears they possessed. It is easy to forget it was the Lord who delivered me in the first place. When the pressure is on, I still doubt He will be there for me the next time I need Him.

Why Do I Doubt?

Why is it so easy to forget the many miracles and then doubt? I don’t think my intention is ever to doubt or lack faith in our Heavenly Father. I truly strive to have faith. I would have faith like the Apostle Peter, but even he sometimes faltered:

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:28-31)

Miraculously, Peter did walk on the water and only started to sink when “he saw the wind boisterous.” I believe the key for Peter and for me is, “he was afraid,” Peter took his eyes off the Lord and that simple change of focus caused a sudden shift in faith. Peter, like me, focused on the boisterous waves and not on the Lord. It was only when Peter cried out, “Lord, save me” that the Lord “caught him.” Maybe even for the faithful it is a “natural man” thing. King Benjamin taught:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)

It seems when “[I] yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man” then my focus can remain on the Lord. When the Holy Spirit helps me focus on the Lord, then how can I fear? Further it says, “And becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” When I move in that direction, a host of childlike attributes open up to me. The Holy Spirit invites so many wonderful gifts into my life that cast out doubt and fear, such as submissiveness, meekness, humility, patience, and a heart full of charity. Probably one of the most important attributes is a “willing[ness] to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [me], even as a child doth submit to his father.” Jesus shows me the way, because He submitted to His Heavenly Father, and so I must submit too. The Prophet Joseph Smith was taught some powerful lessons from the Lord while in Liberty Jail:

If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee . . . and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit . . . and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? (D&C 122:5-8, emphasis added.)

While I have never had to submit to such horrible conditions as the Prophet Joseph Smith did over and over, I have found submitting is sometimes very painful. Yet I have found it is often the only way to the blessings Heavenly Father has waiting for me. Many times the very thing I try with all my might to avoid is exactly the path the Lord requires I travel. The choice is mine whether I choose to walk the path, or run and hide, but I have found the words of Moroni are true when he said, “For ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:6) The witness I have received is that whenever I strive to do the Lord’s will and hold to my faith in Him, He sees me through my adversity, and I receive a blessing beyond any required sacrifice.

Always Remember The Lord’s Deliverance

Once I have passed through the fires of adversity and been blessed by the Lord, it is vitally important I remember it is He who delivered me. The Lord continually reminded His prophets from the time of Moses until now how that He delivered the Children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. I have discovered it is not only important to remember He delivered ancient Israel, but it is even more important for me to remember He has delivered me and continues to deliver me.

One of the ways to show the Lord I remember His blessings is when I humbly come before Him in thankful prayer, showing gratitude for His blessings and seeking His guidance. I show Him my faith by reading His word in the scriptures, following the living prophet, and acting upon impressions I receive. Writing my thoughts and feelings in my journal is another wonderful way I can go back and revisit those times worth remembering. I love to testify of His goodness, and move forward in faith trusting that He is with me. Sometimes, when it gets really hard, I just cry to Him and He comforts me.

Right now, my wife and I are standing at a crossroad in our lives and we do not know which way to turn, except heavenwards. We fully realize how much we need the Lord and His blessings. We are doing the best we can with what we have; most of our options have been removed, but we see hope emerging as we press forward in faith. We have prayerfully considered contingency plans and hope our safety catches carefully placed are adequate. However, we have learned that no matter how prepared we may think we are, the winds of adversity can blow away all of our preparation in a moment. Despite any winds of adversity, our Heavenly Father always provides a way of deliverance. He provides hope when it seems hopeless, and He will provide us a way through this too. The way is often not of our own choosing, the easiest, or least painful, but looking back we have learned His way is always the best one.

Our belief is to always remember, God did not lead us through the Red Sea to die in the wilderness—He will deliver us into the PROMISED LAND!


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.hisgraceissufficient.com/2012/08/15/deliverance/

  • David

    Thank you so much! I needed to be reminded of all the Red Seas the Lord has parted for us over the last couple of years. Your last line is really appreciated: “always remember, God did not lead us through the Red Sea to die in the wilderness – He will deliver us into the PROMISED LAND!” That’s a great thought!

    • http://www.hisgraceissufficient.com/ Stan Winchester

      I am grateful you enjoyed reading this. Thank you for your faith and kind words.

  • Sheila

    As always, a deep and touching essay. You have this talent as a spiritual gift

    • http://www.hisgraceissufficient.com/ Stan Winchester

      Sheila, Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am touched by your generous words. :) Stan

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  • Michaela Stephens

    I like what you said about how the Lord performs small partings of the Red Sea for you. I’ve seen that too in my life–the opening up of possibilities where none existed before.

    • http://www.hisgraceissufficient.com/ Stan Winchester

      Thank you for sharing your testimony how the Lord has blessed you!