Do You Feel Stuck? You’re Not Alone!

by | Jan 27, 2021 | Featured, Jesus & Ancient Judaism, Passover, Practical Discipleship, Spirituality, Theology

Have you ever felt stuck?

Do you feel stuck right now? I have good news and bad news. Bad news first: It’s hard. There’s no way around it. It’s difficult and pushing through the brick wall is not easy to do. Good news: you aren’t alone! People have found themselves between a rock and a hard place since we were created. 

After the Israelites left Egypt they approached the sea. When they looked back, the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army chasing after them in the distance and they were stuck. They had seen the plagues. They had seen the mighty acts. There was no denying that God was indeed with them (I mean God was leading them with a pillar of smoke for crying out loud!) until they came to “the sea” of course. 

A people stuck and struck with confusion turn to their leader and say

“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

-Exodus 14:11-12

WHY DO WE FEEL SO STUCK?

My wife and I have been doing Shabbat mornings together and reading through the weekly Torah portion (Parashah) in Exodus the past few weeks. For the particular season we find ourselves in, this story is quite relevant. We read through this passage in Exodus 14 on Saturday and for the past few days, I’ve felt like those Israelites. You did all that for what!? Why do we feel so stuck?

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I never should have stepped out!” I mean, that’s essentially what the Israelites said. They would have rather been slaves than be in their current circumstance. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” And that is exactly how the Israelites felt as they stood between “a sea and a hard place.” 

As I introduce every Passover Seder I always bring up this story. Even though it’s right after the main Passover events, it’s still relevant to the Seder story. I say that because it’s in Moses’ response to the Israelites that we see a subtle hint towards the Messiah. Before Moses responds to the people I always imagine him going before God privately like, “Seriously God! Why did you cause us to get stuck like this? I’m not complaining but what in the world are you doing?!” Moses then digs deep down for every ounce of YHWH-led courage he can muster up and responds:

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance (Hebrew: Yeshuat) the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be silent.” – Exodus 14:13

First of all, the Hebrew word Yeshuat is the same word we use for the name of Jesus = Yeshua. This word means salvation/deliverance. And who is the one who saves the Israelites? Of course, they had to actually walk through the sea when it parted but it was God that parted the sea and stopped it back up again. It was God who caused the angel and pillar of cloud to move behind them and protect the Israelites until they were safe on the other side. God was the one who rescued the Israelites. And He is the one who will rescue you.

BUT “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves!”

Have you ever heard the phrase: “God helps those who help themselves”? Don’t believe that garbage. While the phrase has roots in ancient Greece and even the Quran, I’m going to be as blunt as I can be here: that phrase is stupid American capitalistic hogwash (for a lack of better terms)! Jesus came to earth for the very reason that we cannot save or help ourselves! It’s what makes following Jesus so special and so unique among the world religions. Every other religion says you have to reach up to get to god(s). But YHWH says, “You cannot save yourselves, and because I love you so much I’m going to come to you and rescue you.” 

I hate cliche one-liners but as we can see from Scripture it’s true: “God is fighting for you.” He fought for the Israelites in their exodus. And now he has fought and is fighting for you through Yeshua – the Messiah. Think about this. When Paul was stopped on the road to Damascus, Jesus said, “Saul! Saul! why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) How could Jesus say that? He was ascended to the Father by this point. Sure, (S)Paul was persecuting the early disciples and followers, but not Jesus directly. But here’s the point: Jesus is so invested, involved, and active within the church that to persecute Christ-followers is to persecute Jesus Himself. 

You have to get through me first

Jesus quite literally says, “You want to mess with them?! You have to go through me first!” I was bullied as a kid. Let me tell you, trying to help myself only made things worse! What I would have given for an older kid with a reputation to stand in front of me saying, “If you hurt him, you hurt me, and you REALLY don’t want to hurt me.” And that’s what Jesus does for you and for me. He stands between you and the rock and the hard place. The only caveat is that we have to wait for Him because His timing is perfect. And therein lies one of the greatest challenges for the disciple: waiting on God.

Waiting on and trusting God can be difficult. It’s one of the hardest things we do. The Israelites had to trust that God was going to come through. How easy would it have been for some of the Israelites to come together and say, “Listen, maybe if we go back and plead with Pharaoh he’ll take us back!” If they did that, they never would have witnessed the miracle and walked through the sea. Patience truly is a virtue. But as we’ve seen countless times through the bible and history, when we don’t wait on God and act on our own behalf, bad things tend to follow (1 Samuel 13)

So What Now?

If you’re stuck today, like I am, I encourage you to seek the Lord. Spend time worshipping Him today. Sometimes the best way to get “un-stuck” is simply to thank Jesus and having a mindset of praise. Shifting our perspective will help as we wait. Whatever ways you love to worship God today take time to do that. Remember how God brought you through difficult seasons before. I mean that’s the whole purpose of observing the Passover every year is that Jews remember how God brought them out of slavery and oppression. It’s why followers of Yeshua observe Easter every year, to remember that through an act of God coming to earth, we have been rescued and forgiven from our sin and our shame and our guilt. We observe the fact that we don’t have to live in our past any longer and we now get to celebrate our new life! Having that new life perspective may not lessen the waiting time but it will make it easier as we remember that our God has rescued us before and He will do it again.

Trust me, I’m preaching to myself here right now! We got this, Church!

Maranatha // מרנאתא

-Justin

This year I will be hosting in-person Seders as well as producing a video that you can purchase to show either in your home or your church. If you’d like to learn more about having me host in person or how to purchase the Seder video, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.

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Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

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About The Author

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.

M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University

About Justin

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context. He would not be where he is today without his incredible wife, Lauren! While he's a pastor at heart, he's also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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