Scripture Reading: Exodus 5:1-23, Exodus 6:1-27, Isaiah 6:4-5, Psalm 68:4-6
When I signed up for a half-marathon, I thought I was agreeing to the half with medals and snacks at the end. Unfortunately, the journey to the finish line was a little more than I bargained for.
The longest distance I ran when training for the race was 10 miles. I’d read about many types of training plans. Some encouraged running more than 13.1 miles to increase your confidence on race day, while others suggested running less and allowing the adrenaline to carry you through. Through a very close elimination process, I chose the latter because it involved less running.
My training prepared me for inclement weather, dehydration, hunger, and cramps. I mapped out where along the route I should slow down or speed up, and even curated a motivational playlist—complete with a special list of victory songs for the last mile. On the morning of the race, I suited up with every recommended accessory and piece of training advice, keeping my mind only on the task at hand. The first several miles went as planned, but as the day grew hotter, it felt like the finish line was running in the opposite direction. I’d lost count of the mile markers, but I knew I still had a long way to go. That is, until I locked eyes with an encouraging onlooker who said, “You’re almost there! It’s the last mile!”.
Except, it wasn’t. It was the beginning of the next-to-last mile, which is a detail that truly matters when your legs have already begun to turn to jelly.
It was God’s ultimate will for His people to be released from Pharaoh’s control. And yet, day by day, freedom must have seemed like it was crawling further and further away from the Israelites. Just when they thought their jobs couldn’t get any worse, they were forced to source their own supplies. Just when they thought their lives couldn’t get harder, they were afraid they’d have to rely on their own strength.
Moses’ words to God seem to echo the thoughts of all His people: “Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has caused trouble for this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all” (Exodus 5:23).
Do you still love us?
Do you still see us?
Are you still going to help us make it to the finish line?
Seeing a promise through to its fulfillment demands perseverance. God does not promise us the shortest route or even the most painless, but as Corrie ten Boom puts it, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
The distance may become longer. The steps may become more painful. The journey may become less predictable. But the same God who gives freedom also gives perseverance, purpose, and peace. His promise to Israel is His promise to us: “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).