Have you ever felt trapped between a mountain and a sea with an army coming full force at you? Has God ever called you to cross a river where dreaded giants await to be conquered on the other side? Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. So do our youth at Emmaus House.
In Exodus 14, God told the Israelites to camp between a mountain and a sea as they were running from the enemy He had promised to deliver them from. From a military tactical standpoint, it was the most dangerous and vulnerable place to be. They were positioned perfectly, however, for their Creator to show them that He would be the one fighting for them. The Israelites simply didn’t trust Him and became frightened.
So many times, I think the youth in Haiti feel the same way. They feel like they are precariously stuck between a mountain and a sea. Nowhere to go. No escape. No hope. No help. No family to help. The fear of leaving the orphanage, becoming independent, and entering the world of Haiti grips some of them much like the fear the faithless Israelites must have felt when they saw the oncoming Egyptian army and they were sure of their imminent death.
Moses responded to their fear with a great deal of faith as he looked on at the Egyptians coming in one direction and the trap of the Red Sea the other direction, when he said to the Israelites, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
So many times I feel myself saying the same things to the youth at Emmaus House. “Have faith.” “Keep working.” “Don’t give up.” Really what I am saying is, “stand by and see…the Lord will fight for you.” Despite our best efforts, so often, some still feel alone in the fight and defeated before the battle even begins.
The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years and until Moses came along, they had nobody to fight for them. They were hopeless. Now, they had an all-powerful God who could fight for them. But would they trust Him to do it?
For 40 years after He brought them safely across the Red Sea, as they wandered in the wilderness, they still could not bring themselves to put their trust in the God who wanted so badly to provide for them. Moses says virtually the same words to the Israelites 40 years after God fought for them at the Red Sea as they fearfully prepared to cross the Jordan River to enter the land God promised to them. They were once again afraid of an overwhelming enemy. The people on the other side were bigger and taller, as were their cities. They were intimidated and afraid. He recounts his words to them in Deuteronomy 1:29-30 “Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes.” However, they were still afraid.
We have seen God fighting for our youth for 4 years. He has parted seas to show our youth, our staff, and our donors that He is fighting diligently on their behalf. Many of our youth have learned to trust that He is fighting for them and it is exciting to watch their growth as they begin to enter the world on their own. However, some still feel as if they are helplessly standing between the mountain and the sea with nowhere to go and no one to help. They are intimidated and afraid of the giants and the cities that lie waiting for them on the other side of their time at Emmaus House. They don’t trust that God will fight for them. They don’t trust that anyone will. They simply live in fear. For these youth, please pray. Pray that they will grasp the love of a God who wants to give them rest, peace, and love.
The Israelites crossed that Jordan despite their fear of the giants on the other side, and they went into the land. Many of our youth are seeing the giants on the other side and choosing to cross it as well. I am so proud of them as I watch them venture ahead despite their fear of the armies coming after them or what giants may be on the other side waiting for them, trusting that they have a God who will fight for them.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with each and every one of our youth. Those who have learned to trust as well as those who are still working on it. What will He do when they finally decide to step aside and allow Him to fight for them?
In Jillian’s blog last week, she wrote of a young man named Gregory who felt as if he had nobody to fight for him. So many youth in Haiti truly feel as if they have nobody fighting for them. Before Emmaus House, our youth felt this way too. But thanks to you, they now have hope. You have become the hands and feet of God, allowing Him to use you to fight for these youth. Your support is giving them the strength to cross their seas and face their giants. This doesn't mean they are fearless. No, many of them still fear what is ahead. But your presence is lending them courage and we are forever grateful.
- Tanya Pirtle