We have recently added a new member to the family: a 3 1/2 month old puppy named Snoopy. This has, of course, meant that everyone in the household has had to make some serious life adjustments. On most days, most of us are doing well. However, there are two members of the family who have not yet taken to our new puppy: the 2 cats that we already owned.
Snoopy sees the cats and thinks, “Oh cool! Playmates!” The cats see Snoopy and run. One memorable night, Snoopy saw our youngest cat and started towards her. The cat bolted into our bathroom with the intent of cutting through to our kitchen and the rest of the house. Unfortunately, we had closed the door between the bathroom and the kitchen. The cat found herself trapped between a closed door and a playful puppy. She hissed at Snoopy and slowly retreated behind the toilet. When Snoopy chose to approach her from the right side of the toilet, the cat bolted out the left side and out the other door.
Sometimes, we find ourselves feeling trapped between close doors and real, or perceived, enemies. How do we respond when we feel stuck? Sometimes we become frantic, doing everything we can to figure a way out. Sometimes we hiss, looking to place blame on someone for our problems. Sometimes we just run away, retreating back into ourselves or into our work or our chores without really dealing with the closed door or the enemy.
When Israel found itself stuck between a big sea it couldn’t cross and an angry pharaoh chasing them down with his army, they became frantic trying to figure out a plan. They complained and blamed Moses for leading them out of Egypt. They almost gave up, feeling it was better to run back to slavery than follow a path to freedom. In response, Moses said, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish 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 keep still” (Exodus 14:13-14).
Don’t fear, don’t blame, don’t retreat. Stand firm, keep still, and see God at work. These are usually not our first instincts. In fact, usually we turn to God as last resort. Yet Moses wanted his people to understand the same thing that we need to understand today: God is present with His people and is ready to work in their lives. When we feel trapped, God should be our first response, not our last resort.
The interesting thing about Snoopy and my cat was that I was standing right there the whole time. At one point, I sat between Snoopy and the cat to calm Snoopy down. When Snoopy tried to go behind the toilet, I had my hand on his collar the whole time. I was not going to let him do anything to hurt the cat.
How many times has God been right there when we were between a rock & a hard place, asking us to trust Him, to just stand firm and see the work He wanted to accomplish?