66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Reflections on Exodus

It’s easy for me to read through a book like Exodus and kind of wonder: “How couldn’t they see it?!?” God’s provision, protection, and guidance are so clear chapter after chapter. From protecting Moses as a baby to grand things like splitting a sea in two or food appearing out of thin air day after day, God’s action on behalf of the Israelites is obvious. Yet, they complained constantly, thought going back to slavery would be better for them, made idols while God’s presence was still on the mountain in front of them, and blamed God instead of praising Him. How could this be? Couldn’t they see what God was up to?

But when I really stop to think about it… some days I’m no different. God performs a miracle, but we miss it because we were expecting something different. God figuratively splits seas or thunders from a mountain and the next day we’re so caught up in daily life we forget His power. We become immune to daily ‘manna’ falling from the sky in the form of food and shelter and friendships and His love and start to complain. I’d like to think that if I saw some of the miraculous things the Israelites witnessed I would never stop praising, but I’m not so sure I’d be any different.

One verse that struck me came right as God was enacting this great plan to lead them out of Egypt. Pharaoh had finally worn down and they were on the move. Passover had been instituted and God’s people had been spared the death of the firstborn that plagued the rest of the land. They had not yet come upon the Red Sea, but certainly had plenty to praise God for already.

So Moses said to the people, ‘This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. … On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. You must celebrate this event in this month each year…” (Exodus 13:3-5 NLT)

Reading this translation struck me… REMEMBER… YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE… CELEBRATE! It goes on to explain how God wants them to celebrate but the party stops pretty quick as they approach the Red Sea and see that Pharaoh has changed his mind. The army is approaching quickly from behind and the body of water ahead has them trapped.

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” (Exodus 14:10-12)

Suddenly they wanted to go back. Their current situation seemed worse than slavery, but that’s because they forgot the powerful mighty hand of their God.

Earlier this month I attended a conference. One of the hosts said this as he wrapped up one of our sessions:

Sometimes we feel like: “God you’ve led me to a place where there’s no where out.”
God says: “That’s only because you haven’t seen a sea parted.” – Ben Stewart

As I thought about this story that I’ve heard many times, as well as my own tenancies to complain and forget what God can do, I wondered if a key piece in all of it was the celebration God instituted the chapter before.

When Moses told the people to remember the day they had been set free, he said, “you MUST celebrate it”.  One way to read this Scripture would imply a focus on trying to please God and so we must praise Him because He deserves it. It’s true, God does deserve our praise, but I wonder if the “must” here is more about God knowing our nature. He “demands” celebration in a sense because He knows we need it. He knows that we MUST celebrate or we will forget. We must celebrate or we will worry. We must celebrate or we will feel trapped and see no way out. We must celebrate because we are free. Without celebration, we find our souls enslaved again.

I don’t know what celebration looks like for you, but find a way to party today. God has done everything to secure our freedom. May we never be slaves again!

2018-01-13 09.05.07


Bonus Thought: Music is one way I choose to celebrate. Maybe this song by Ellie Holcomb can help you live free today!

So we will sing, to our souls
We won’t bury our hope
Where He leads us to go
There’s a red sea road
When we can’t, see the way
He will part, the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down a red sea road” – Ellie Holcomb “Red Sea Road”


Anna's Story, The Exodus Road

Anna’s Story: Part Two – Slavery – Laos

We’ve already journeyed with Anna through the process of being trafficked and today we venture deeper into part 2 of Anna’s story which involves her actual slavery. As you can tell from previous posts, I’ve chosen to write this story from the perspective of someone who knows Jesus. I did this for many reasons including understanding the reality that this can happen to ANYONE as well as imagining some of the struggles that might come in trusting that God even exists when one finds themselves in a situations like this. Yet, even amid the struggles and doubts Anna can draw hope and strength from Christ. However, we must remember that for many “Anna’s” around the world, a faith and hope in Jesus Christ is a completely foreign concept. They have absolutely NOTHING to draw hope from. As you read the next part of Anna’s story, pray for those, like Anna who do know Christ and ask God to encourage them and give them strength in that faith today. Also pray for those that don’t know Him, ask Him to work in miraculous ways to reveal Himself and His love and His hope no matter how hopeless their situations may seem. Lastly, continue pray for the many organizations, including The Exodus Road, who are working every day to rescue “Anna”s, and be a part of God restoring the world to himself. Check out the link above to see information about the latest rescues and ways to get involved.

Anna’s Story: Part Two – Slavery

March 6, 2013
I’m so sick of this place, God. I don’t even feel like a human anymore. I never know when someone is telling me something true or when they’re just manipulating me into another awful situation. I tried so hard to get out of it. I demanded to be released… that only resulted in more… well, let’s just say I won’t do that again. Will I be here forever? I saw what happened to Alina and Regina when they tried to escape. I don’t have any money anyway and haven’t seen my passport since it got handed off to that Chinese guy on the bus days ago. So even if I got out, I wouldn’t make it far, especially since I kind of stand out here with my white skin. I guess the only way to survive is to just stay here. I don’t know how I’m going to go on. I don’t know if you can even hear me anymore God after all the things I’ve done but these few minutes that I get to sneak away with my journal every few days are the only thing that keeps me going so I guess you must be real in some way. If so, then help me do whatever they want me to do so I can stay alive.

March 10, 2013
Sunday. You would think being trapped in these dark rooms I’d loose track of the days, but I can always tell when it’s Sunday because we start earlier on Saturdays. I should be sleeping right now, especially with another long night ahead of us, but I can’t help but think of Marta, Ruslan, and Liza who are probably walking into the Cathedral in St. Petersburg right now. Do they even know I never made it to America? I can picture Pastor Peter at the front getting ready to teach from the Your Word. Oh the Bible. I wish I still had mine, but I’m so thankful for Mrs. Alena who told us to hide it in our hearts like Psalm 119 says. Sometimes some of those verses are the only thing that gets me through another night. Ones like Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

If I’m honest, God it’s hard to believe that you are here, with me, in such an awful place. I don’t know if you’d ever come into a place like this, so dirty, so broken, but I remember the stories Mrs. Alena told us… I think there was even one about you talking with a prostitute. If that’s true, Jesus, then maybe there’s hope for me?!? Help me trust this is true and give me strength. One of the other verses from Psalm 103 she had us memorize says you forgive and heal and redeem our lives from the pit. I need you to save me from this pit, Jesus!

I wonder what hymns they’re singing at church today; I keep thinking about this one verse from one of my favorite ones:

Christ the Victorious, give to your servants
rest with your saints in the regions of light.
Grief and pain ended, and sighing no longer,
there may they find everlasting life

I can’t wait for that day Jesus! Bring me out of this pit I’m in. End the grief and pain. Give me a new song to sing because the only one in my heart right now is one of hopelessness and despair. And as I head off to sleep tonight, give me rest and strength, because I don’t know if I can live this life one more day.

Anna's Story, The Exodus Road

My Friend Anna…

Today, as part of my commitment to blog for rescue, I wanted to begin telling you the story of my friend, Anna. While Anna’s story I’ll write about here on my blog is fictional, the events of her life are reality for many in the world. Anna’s life represents one of the 27 million slaves The Exodus Road and other organizations seek to rescue from the horrific reality of human trafficking. Anna could be your daughter or sister or friend. Anna could be you. Each Monday, we’ll get a glimpse into Anna’s prayer journal and see how easily someone can find themselves trapped in a horrible situation with no hope for rescue… but hold on Anna, RESCUE IS COMING!


Anna’s Story: Part One – Sold and Trafficked – St. Petersburg, Russia

February 18, 2013
Dear God,
Well, I turned 15 today. Part of me wants to thank you for those 15 years of life. The other part is just filled with worry of what the years ahead will hold. But anyway, it was a good day! Mama even managed to take some time to have a small celebration with me, Marta, Ruslan, and Liza before heading out for work tonight. We didn’t have much to celebrate with, but ever since I started working at the bread shop 2 years ago, at least we have food on the table most nights and we thank you for that God.

Be with Mama tonight, God. I know I pray for that every night, but worry about her so much. I worry what the men will do to her; even worse, I worry that she won’t find enough men who want her and then she gets in trouble with the owners. Does she really think I believe the lies she tries to use to cover up what she does? I see the bruises. I see the pain in her eyes each morning when she comes home. I guess I should be used to it by now, but I feel like there must be a better way. I trust that you love us, Jesus, but sometimes it’s hard when I see what mama goes through. I also worry so much for my younger siblings. They won’t believe the lies much longer either, especially Marta, she’s old enough to start putting the pieces together. Soon she’ll probably have to go out and find a job as well. I had to give up my dreams of going to college, but I don’t want her to have to too. God, please, show me how I can help. There has to be a better way. Help us, Jesus. Help me find a better job to be able to help my family!

Well, I should probably go check on Liza and Ruslan. Keep us safe tonight God and bring Mama home safe as well. Bless the next year in my life and thank you for one more day to be alive.
In Jesus’ Name I Pray, Amen.

February 21, 2013
Oh Papa! As you know, Mama had a bad night last night. She couldn’t even pick up little Liza as she ran to give Mama a hug when she came home this morning. Something has to change. She can’t do this any more. Pastor always says to pray big, bold prayers. So God, I ask tonight for you to give me another job, one that makes more than the one at the bread shop. Mama can’t keep doing this night after night and as the oldest I need to do more. So give me a job, Jesus. In Your Name I Pray, Amen.

February 24, 2013
Could it be true?!? Are already be answering my prayers for something more I could do. It was just two days ago when I asked for a better job, one that would give us enough money so Mama wouldn’t have to keep going out night after night. And there it was, on my way home from church this morning, the sign in the window of the store:

Nanny’s Needed!
Includes a Free Trip to America
Pay: $1000/month

I couldn’t believe it God. It seems too good to be true, but I know how to take care of kids I’ve taken care of Marta and Ruslan and Liza since papa left. I’ll be a great Nanny. And I’ve always wanted to go to America. And the money… Oh Jesus… with $1,000 a month Mama could quit her job and move with the children to a safer place in town. She could get the medicine she needs for all the illnesses she’s gotten from having to sleep with all the different men each night. She could get better! And maybe I’d be so good, I could get a raise and then bring them all to America to live with me! I can’t wait to tell Mama when she gets home! Keep her safe tonight, Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

Come back next Monday for more of Anna’s story.

The Exodus Road

Freedom Rocks!

In the month or so I’ve been an official Exodus Road blogger, I continue to find myself amazed at the work of The Exodus Road organization. Every single day they work to rescue people out of slavery and restore their lives!

To think that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history is a mindblowing statistic. However, those at The Exodus Road don’t let that overwhelm them. They simply do what God calls them to do each day and lives are changed because of it.

They currently are in the process of raiding 7 brothels in India at which they believe they can rescue 40 women and children who are slaves there. Thanks to the support of many, they were able to raise the funds needed for these raids in about a week! From what I’ve gathered, they have investigators on the ground all over the world ready to save even more as soon as money becomes available.

Check out the video below to find out how else they celebrate the lives of each person rescued each month and my last post about Human Trafficking for ways YOU can help fight slavery in the world today:

#FREEDOMROCKS from The Exodus Road on Vimeo.