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Out of the Depths

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For today’s musical pairing, something different: this acoustic version of Stay and Wait by Hillsong UNITED. See the video below.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’”
Exodus 14:13–14

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus 14:21–22

Day 4. 350,536 confirmed cases, 15,328 deaths globally.

In the Book of Exodus, a series of increasingly catastrophic plagues loosened Pharaoh’s grip just long enough for the Israelites to make their way into the wilderness. Pharaoh reversed course and pursued them. The Israelites faced a vastly superior army on one side and the Red Sea on the other. They were hemmed in. “The Lord will fight for you,” Moses tells them. “You need only to be still.”

Then followed one of the most renowned and spectacular of all the miracles in the Bible. God “divided” the waters and the Israelites passed through, “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

It must have been an awe-inspiring experience to walk that hallway through the sea. It must also have been terrifying. At any moment, those towering walls could have crashed in upon them. Instead, after the Israelites ascended onto the far shore, the hallway collapsed upon the army of Pharaoh and freed the people of God.

The number of confirmed cases of and deaths from the pandemic in the United States soared over the weekend. We know the numbers will continue their rapid climb as symptoms begin to manifest and testing catches up with reality.

We feel, O Lord, like those Israelites passing through the sea. We are exhausted and bewildered. A frightening enemy pursues us. Danger looms at every side. The only way is forward. We know there is hope on the far shore, but we have not yet begun our ascent.

Our lives are in suspense. We wait in the in between. We walk in the depth of the depths. We are reminded of the psalmist and his de profundis cry. “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord. … let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy” (Ps. 130:1–2). The Bible calls it a song of ascent, and yet it comes in the waiting before the ascent. “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning” (vv. 5–6).

We live between the miracle of our redemption and the miracle of our deliverance. We wait between one miracle and another. We know it’s only your grace that holds the walls of the sea. We look forward to our ascent. Someday you will meet us upon the mountain, and we will look back and see how mightily and beautifully and perfectly you delivered us.

But here, today, we cry out to you. Hear our prayers in the depths. “Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” (Ps. 130:7).

The Hallway Through the SeaThe Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise.

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