Did You Bring Me Out Here to Die?
How many times have we said, “I think I’m gonna die!”? Most of us have used that phrase at the end of a long run, in the middle of a spinning class, after every Thanksgiving meal, after an all-nighter with a newborn, in the middle of VBS week, or at the end of August when it has been over 100 degrees for weeks. Or maybe you have said, “I think I’m gonna die” when you realize you have just made your most klutzy move ever in front of the most important person in your life ever. (Yea, we have all done it.)
I’m not sure where the expression came from, but I wonder if it started with the Israelites when they left captivity in Egypt. Remember the story? The account begins with Moses being asked by God to be the spokesperson for the Israelites. His job? To go before Pharaoh and request the release of the Israelites who were being held in slavery. Should he choose to reject the request then Moses would give a warning to the consequences that would ensue. Moses was not sure he was the man for the job. But God showed him it wasn’t about what Moses could do but it was about what God could do! Exodus 7-13 tells the events that took place as God did His work in Egypt. Moses begins his part of the work, and goes to Pharaoh for his first plea. The warning that followed was turning the fresh drinking water into blood. Several pleas followed that first one. With each plea for the freedom came another warning, each warning of a greater consequence than the one before until the unthinkable happened and death came to Egypt.
Today, believers are still sounding the warning every time they ask, “If you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?” Some are ready to heed the warning. But others, like Pharaoh, choose to ignore the alarm that has been sounded. Our job is to still sound the warning! While serving in the Asia, my husband and a group of national believers were hiking in the mountains on their way to a village that was anxious to hear the story of Jesus. Six hours into their eight-hour hike, they were held up by a group of bandits. Immediately one of the nationals began negotiating with the bandits. His plea, “We are on our way to take food to this village and tell them about Jesus. Our purpose is to help. Come with us and see.” The bandits agreed to follow them to the village. Even though they had the chance to heed the warning, they chose to leave without responding to the message of salvation found in Jesus Christ. The next day, they were killed in an altercation with the national army. Neither Pharaoh nor the bandits acted on the warnings given and it led to death. For Pharaoh, it led to the death of many in Egypt. It was that event that compelled him to finally let the Israelites go. God led them out with a “pillar of cloud.” He led them the long way around to the Red Sea, protecting them from seeing the danger behind them. If they had seen the army on their heals they may have retreated back to Egypt.
Sometimes the familiar, no matter how bad it is, is more comfortable than choosing God’s unfamiliar way. Rarely is God’s way the shortest or the most familiar! Eventually the Israelites get to the Red Sea. And it is here they realize they have an army behind them, mountains beside them, and a sea in front of them. This brings us to our phrase. It is at this moment they ask, “Did you bring us here to die?!”
There were times as a missionary in Asia that I asked God that same question. In our first two terms our family experienced Dengue Fever, Typhoid, two major earthquakes, the eruption of a volcano, an ambush, a miscarriage, exposure to rabies, broken bones, a severe back injury, a few unidentified diseases, kidnapping threats, mudslides, and more. “God, did you bring us here to die?!”
Sometimes it is when we are face to face with our “Red Sea” that we see God part the waters just like He did for the Israelites that day.For us, God parted the waters in a Muslim village. A co-worker was the first to go into the village for an assessment of needs. While there she was invited to eat lunch with a Muslim family, something that never happens. Later, while offering a free medical clinic in the village, we learned about the miracle that happened during her lunch. The family realized she was a believer and wanted to prevent her from ever returning to the village, so they poisoned her food. Because she did not die, they wanted to know about our God because surely He must be very powerful. (He is the most powerful! Amen!) The entire village met Jesus that day.
Maybe you are asking God today, “Did you bring me here to die?” Maybe you are serving in a small town and you feel as if you are socially dying. Or perhaps you are serving in a place where you have no real friends and you feel as if you might die emotionally. You may be in a church that is struggling and you feel as if you might die spiritually. Or maybe you are in the middle of school and see no end in sight and feel as if you might die before you finish. Whatever your “Red Sea” may be, remember God still parts the waters and does miraculous things just when we think, “Did you bring us here to die?!”