Ambiguity is one of our greatest challenges because, as a rule, we like structure, routine, and the ability to know what’s coming next. When we find ourselves in ambiguous situations, our trusted reference points seem to move and we become disoriented. We may even question the basic principles of truth, causing us to struggle with decision making and become paralyzed by inaction.
Leonardo da Vinci put it this way, “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation…even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” When we find ourselves in a state of inaction, our energy, drive, and vigor is drained. We feel defeated.
In fact, we may feel a lot like the Israelites when, within days of leaving Egypt and centuries of slavery with a high hand, they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the army of Egypt. Imagine going from the ecstatic high of newfound liberty to the absolute despair of seeing destruction bearing down on you. As slaves they had been highly organized and controlled, but in this new situation all their reference points for decision making were gone. They were trapped into inaction. Fortunately God, through Moses, had important guidance at hand:
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward…,” Exodus 14:13-15 (ESV)
Moses understood that the goal was to stand firm, but more than just staying put, it was the action of taking a stand. God offered further clarity through the phrase, “to go forward.” In Hebrew the word for this phrase means the act of pulling up tent pegs in preparation to depart. God expected Israel to be ready to break camp and move forward when He opened the way.
We, too, have to be preparing ourselves so that we’re ready to move and follow the Eternal when He shows us the way to move forward. How will we know which way is forward? There are plenty of people out there with opinions as to what that is. This is why it’s critically important during times of ambiguity that we actively stand still. Engage in hard work on our knees, pray, with our faces firmly planted in the Bible to dig out what we believe – the foundation of Truth.
Taking a lesson from the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea, we need to avoid the paralysis that plagued ancient Israel by pulling up our “tent pegs” and moving forward. We do that by reinvesting ourselves in the Truth and applying it in our lives. We need to be prepared to move as we are led through the working of God’s Holy Spirit as directed by the Father and Jesus Christ, our true reference points. Everything around us can crumble into oblivion, but we will still be secure and able to make forward progress with God’s help. So let’s pull up those tent pegs and get ready!
By Matt King