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Where is God? {When things get hard}

First I have to say how important it is for us as moms shepherding our children to be in God’s Word daily. Y’all. I know it’s hard. I’m in a place where it could feel impossible homeschooling 5 kids ages 9 and under. I’m NOT an early riser. And with 5 with different needs–someone always, always, ALWAYS needs me. Instead of carving out time to be with God AWAY from them–I take them with me. If you are a mom struggling to find time to have a quiet time–maybe see this as a season…to have a not so “quiet” quiet time–and to take them to the cross with you…to go there every day TOGETHER. Psalm 84:3, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!”

Each morning the children and I sit down together and we read out of the NIRV Adventure Bible together. (We have lots of Bible study favorites…this is one of them as well as Betty Lukens felt stories through the Bible. Old school. Good stuff.)

When we read the Adventure Bible, we read the “Live It” application section and the scriptures that go along with it. We are currently in Exodus–in the drama of Moses leading his people out of Egypt. And today–the Lord spoke to me through this morning time with my little ones…and I just had to share a perspective I’ve never seen in this story…as the Israelites asked I’m sure to themselves, “Where is God when we need Him most?”

So to set the scene…

The Egyptians have been ruling over the Israelites–treating them as slaves…making them build bricks from straw and ruling brutally demanding almost the impossible. The Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush–and told Moses to go to Pharaoh and to tell him to let His people go. Moses confesses his fear before the Lord of speaking to Pharaoh–and instead of getting upset with Moses lack of trust or faith or courage–the Lord provides a sidekick for Moses through Moses’s brother Aaron. They go to Pharaoh over and over and over–and over and over and over Pharaoh says NO. Plagues are sent to Egypt–and finally after the Passover (where things got bloody awful)–Pharoah FINALLY let the people go.


Not for long.

Pharaoh changed his mind. And loads up 600 of his best chariots and their riders and heads out in high pursuit after the Israelites.

So here the Israelites are. They’ve endured hardship and a heavier hand because of Moses following the Lord already in the past. They finally trust the Lord again and leave Egypt with Moses. They are camping out by the Red Sea when they look up–and Oh MY WORD…they see Pharaoh and a ARMY coming after them. And they panic.

WHERE ARE YOU GOD? You brought us through so much. You helped us survive living through hardship in Egypt. And now what? You bring us to the desert to DIE?? Why???!!! Where. Are. You???

Exodus 14 is where it all goes down.

(Starting in verse 11 they lose it…) “They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us to the desert to die? Weren’t their any graves in Egypt? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? We told 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 here in the desert!”

Have you ever felt like that?

You followed the Lord in a big way. You took a risk. And now. On the other side. Oh my glory. It’s not what you expected. It’s harder than you imagined. You felt like the Lord was asking you to trust Him–to follow Him–to do this or that…and now…it’s all falling apart. WHERE ARE YOU GOD?

There are a couple of things that the Israelites COULD. NOT. SEE.

For one. They had never seen the Promised Land. They had NO IDEA what the end of this journey looked like. They had no idea all the blessings the Lord had in store for them. They had no idea how perfect God’s plan was. They had no idea the glory the Lord was about to receive through this really hard season. And they had no idea how the Lord–their God–was RIGHT. THERE. WITH. THEM.

And their fearless leader spoke words–words that YOU and I need to hear.

(verse 13 and 14…) “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. You will see how the Lord will save you today. Do you see those Egyptians?? You will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.”

Did you hear that??

Do you see those Egyptians in your life?? Whatever that is right now?? Trust the Lord–and you will never see them again. The LORD will fight for you. JUST BE STILL.

And this…


THIS is what you really need to read coming up RIGHT HERE. Get this in verse 19…

The angel of God had been traveling in front of Israel’s army…

Are you kidding me???

THE ANGEL OF GOD?? The angel of God had been traveling in front of them?? Yes. And then…

(verse 19) “…Now he moved…”

And that’s where some of us find ourselves today.

Where is the God that brought me here?? Where are you God?? I felt you wanted me to follow…I did…and now I don’t see you…YOU MOVED. But you promised to never leave me. But I don’t feel you–or see you–and something changed…but I’m supposed to keep moving…I’m supposed to keep walking forward??? I don’t understand!

Ever feel like that.

And the answer. Is often…YES.

Because get this. The angel of God who was going BEFORE them–did move. AND they were STILL supposed to keep going in the same direction they originally felt the Lord tell them to walk in. Just because they didn’t feel Him or see Him in every moment–they were to follow the direction the Lord originally told them to go in until He said turn or stop or something else…even when it was hard or seemed like He left them–HE WAS REALLY THERE. So where was He??

(starting in verse 19…) “The angel of God had been traveling in front of Israel’s army. Now he moved back and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved away from in front of them. Now it stood behind them. It came between the armies of Egypt and Israel. All through the night the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other.”

And the angel of the Lord going behind them was their PROTECTION. He never left them. He was still right there. He had already paved the way–and although it felt for a moment things might have changed–nothing had changed other than He was doing even MORE to protect them.

The story gets better and better how the Lord fights for His children. And in the end–the Egyptians ARE defeated…the Israelites are the only survivors and even more glory was brought to the Lord through what felt hard for a season. The Lord never left them–instead the angel of the Lord had moved to bring more protection to them and to do a great big work in their lives and in the lives of their families.

Today the Lord reminded us through this kids Adventure Bible…sitting there on the floor with my children…that our God is faithful. When we do not feel Him–He is still fighting for us…and often His not being in front of us–just might mean He is behind us instead. Just because we don’t see Him walking in front of us–doesn’t mean we need to stop, get discouraged or be complacent. But rather–we need to remember what we know He has spoken to our hearts and keep putting one foot in front of the other–trusting Him to protect us and pave the way regardless if we FEEL Him in every part of the journey.

He keeps His promises. He will never leave or forsake you. And if it’s been awhile since you have heard from Him…just keep going to His Word–reading and trusting Him to fight for you. And just be still.

Praying for those of you who needed this encouragement today:)



Mary (Owlhaven) - January 13, 2014 - 2:53 pm

Thanks, Andrea for your encouraging thoughts! This is exactly how we make SURE to do Bible every day. The kids and I read New Testament every morning at breakfast, and John and the kids read Old Testament every evening at bedtime. At breakfast we go around the table and everyone reads some, and at bedtime John reads. Sometimes we talk about it afterwards, or each pick a favorite verse and tell why we like it, and sometimes we just read and move on. Even though we aren’t moving fast, I feel really good that we’re fitting it into our day regularly in this way.

Thanks for sharing!
Mary, momma to 10, including 4 from Ethiopia and 2 from Korea

Heather Keehn - January 13, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Thank you for this! Such good stuff.

iva miller - January 14, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Great devotions!

Casey Chappell - January 14, 2014 - 3:37 pm

EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. THANK you for taking the time to write and share this. I LOVE my in front large visable leading God… but oh, how I think I’ve misunderstood the times He’s moved behind me to protect and hedge in. This is so helpful to me to get into my mind and understand. I love you… I love your ministry through writing. It’s helping encourage the socks off this weary mommy!

Candy - January 14, 2014 - 3:44 pm


I just read this with tears rolling down my cheeks as I thought back to the last few months of my husband’s life and how I wondered and internally screamed so many times, “GOD!!!! WHERE ARE YOU???!!!!” Four years later I know He was there because I felt Him the moment the ICU doctor told me Bob’s heart had stopped. I see all that He has done on my behalf since the. And how much He has and continues to bless me.

Never saw that passage like you saw it today and I thank you so much for sharing it. It just blessed my heart.

Whitney M - January 20, 2014 - 10:30 am

I have followed your blog for some time and I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS. TODAY. My husband and I have been in the (domestic) adoption process and brought home a baby girl 9 days ago. BUT, after four days of being home with her, the birth family decided to parent her and we had to give back our precious daughter. We feel we are facing a crossroads for our family because we felt the Lord lead us down the adoption (rather than conception) path, and everything seemed to work out to a T. Then our hearts were shattered when we had to give her back. My hubby is pretty discouraged and feels that our time in domestic adoption may be complete, yet I feel we need to press forward a little longer. Maybe we should just BE STILL. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, insight, and encouragement.