Last week my niece, Jeannie Paige, took me to Jekyll Island Beach in Georgia.
I had always said I wished I could see the ocean and when she told me she was taking me it was like the best birthday gift ever! All I wanted was to walk along the ocean and feel the waves on my feet and nothing else mattered.
So we took off to Jekyll Island and had a great trip. We made good time and got there in just over seven hours. Jeannie had rented a condominium and we got settled in and rested that first night.
The next morning we got up and headed for the beach. I had a terribly hard time walking from the car to the ocean, but I finally made it. The moment I had dreamed of for so many years had come. But little did I know it would come with an epiphany that changed my life forever.
I was standing there totally in awe as I looked straight ahead, then to the left and then to the right. It seemed as I looked straight ahead at the end of the ocean the sky was resting on top of the water.
Just then I was overcome with a one-word thought that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would come to me while looking upon the beauty and majesty of the ocean.
Suddenly I found myself remembering the Bible story of how Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. I didn’t know why I was thinking of it but I had enough faith to know there was a reason.
I began to think about all of the tumult in our nation today. Both political parties are fighting each other like never before, the House and the Senate are doing the same, protesters are tearing down statues and causing anarchy in several states, all against a backdrop of hatred for the president. In my lifetime I cannot remember a time when so much trouble was to be dealt with and overcome.
Moses leading the Israelites across The Dead Sea is a lesson I have studied many times and I thought I knew that lesson well, but I was about to find out differently. The story is found in the Old Testament in the book of Exodus, Chapter 14, and I encourage all those reading this column to read it.
The Israelites were being chased by Pharoah and the Egyptians who had much more power than they did. The Israelites grew tired and fearful when they saw Egypt’s powerful horses and chariots.
They were angry with Moses because they had told him long before that they would be better off serving the Egyptians instead of perishing at their hands. But Moses convinced them to stay on the journey.
In the meantime God had a plan. (We tend to forget that sometimes, but it’s always the case.) He told Moses what he was going to do and Moses told his people not to be afraid but to stand still so that God could show them their salvation.
If they would do this, Moses said, they would never see the Egyptians or have to worry about them again. He assured them that the Lord would fight for them.
Then God revealed his plan to Moses. He told him to lift up his rod and stretch it out over the sea and divide it and the children of Israel would go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. Can you imagine what Moses must have thought?
But God continued to explain his plan of how he would get the Egyptians to follow after Moses and the Israelites into the sea.
And then the big moment came. Moses obeyed God and stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, making the sea dry land and the waters divided.
Then the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued and went in after them, along with all of Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen. And then God took off their chariot wheels and the Egyptians knew that God had led the Israelites and decided to get out of the sea.
But God carried through with His plan and told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea, so that the waters would swallow their chariots and their horsemen. The Bible says that not so much as one of the Egyptians remained.
But the children of Israel walked on dry land in the middle of the sea and that day the Lord saved Israel from the Egyptians. And, finally, the Israelites believed God and believed his servant Moses.
I knew recalling that story that God was speaking to me. He was saying “you’ve got a lot to deal with but I will fight for you like I did the Israelites if you will let me.”
That day when we left the ocean I couldn’t stop thinking about my experience. I needed God to fight for me and I knew it, but I had needed a reminder and I got one.
I will never forget my trip to Jekyll Island. And Moses.
Haroldean Thompson is an Etowah resident and can be reached at email@example.com