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Watch for a way out when you feel trapped

November 6, 2018

Some years ago, Karen attempted to eliminate caffeine from our lives. (I hear you gasping. Hang on. It gets worse.)

One morning, Karen substituted our regular coffee blend with a half-caf blend containing less caffeine. (I know. I know. She should be locked away.) By mid-morning my head was pounding. By mid-afternoon I was unable to concentrate.

I had work that was not getting done. So, I did what any resolute real man would do. I borrowed some coins from a preschooler and bought a Mountain Dew. Within minutes, the highly caffeinated carbonate calmed my caffeine-deficient cranium.

Able to think again, I pondered the predicament of the past day. How was this system of demand and supply created? Until the age of 30, I had never been a connoisseur of coffee. But until 30, I had never been double-teamed.

You see, we had a new addition to our family. Our firstborn confused his days and nights. He would wake up, bond with me, and go back to bed, wake up, bond and go back to bed an average of four times a night.

I was a good dad at night, but a grumpy husband in the morning. That’s when his mother stepped into the ring. With her most tempting voice, she whispered to me: “Try some coffee. It will help you get going in the morning.” I was an unsuspecting victim, lured into the dark world of caffeine.

Soon after, God confronted me. “Did you drink of the coffee in the kitchen?”

I answered along with my ancestor Adam: “The woman you put here with me gave me some coffee to drink!”

Next thing I knew, the system was in place. Wake up. Start the coffee. Drink the coffee.

Sounds harmless. Until you try to change the system. I quickly realized that systems don’t go away easily. They fight back.

First, a dull pain. Followed by foggy thinking. Full-blown headache. Pounding. The culture I created was not going to go away without a fight. So, I gave in and found another shot of caffeine.

Attempt to change a system and you will find the system pushing back. Moses understood. While in Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew storytellers wrote down a huge piece of their history. It is a story about their people being enslaved in a system of a world power: Egypt. We call it Exodus.

God confronts Pharaoh and the Egyptians with ten plagues. Each plague is like a cage match against an Egyptian god. The Nile, the source of life, is turned into blood. Frogs multiply, showing Yahweh can control the Egyptian goddess of fertility: Heqet. On it goes until the final plague of the death of the firstborns in the land. The plague is announced as a judgment “on all the gods of Egypt.”

Ten rounds. Yahweh wins each round. The Israelites head out and make their way to the Red Sea. Once they get there they see a cloud of dust behind them. They are trapped between the Egyptian army and the sea. Moses raises his rod and does as Yahweh tells him to: Be still and watch.

An easterly wind starts blowing. That means it is blowing from the other side of the Red Sea from where Moses and the Israelites are. It blew all night and parted the water so that dry land appeared. The Israelites make their way across the dry land and, once they are safe, as the Egyptian army has now followed them into the dry sea bed, the waters are let loose to come back down over them. They drown and the Israelites have found that God is their way out of their slavery.

The Exodus story contains many takeaways. Originally, it is hard to miss that a group of enslaved people in Babylon needed some assurance that their God was greater than those of the Babylonians. They were caught in a system of power where those in power took advantage of those who had none.

But it’s also a story of creation. The waters of the sea parting and dry land appearing echo the creation story. God can defeat the powers of our world and he can provide you and me with a way of escape. You may not see it. The easterly wind was coming towards the Israelites from the far side of the sea. It parted the waters from that side to theirs until finally, at the last moment, they could see their path.

Is there a place in your life today you feel stuck? Trapped? Hear the Exodus story. Know that God is greater than any opposition you are facing. And he is already working to provide you with a way out.

rickbrown1Life2Love.com

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