If you were a regular at Sunday school or watched the epic movie "The Ten Commandments" starring the late Charlton Heston, then this scene is familiar.
Trapped between Pharaoh's crushing armies and the vast Red Sea, thousands of desperate Israelites cry out to Moses. Towering at the edge of a cliff, Moses obeys God's command:
"Raise your staff and stretch your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground" Ex 14: 16 (NIV).
The miraculous parting of the sea and the merciful deliverance of God's people is an incredible testament of his faithfulness. It is also an example of how we can answer his call.
Can you imagine the walls of water that surrounded the Israelites? It must have been terrifying. There was no time to argue. If you did not move, you were doomed to confront the army alone.
Those who were wise stepped out in faith - literally. Talk about no turning back...
I clung to this story, as I recently felt trapped myself. Trapped does not even begin to describe my feelings when I got the phone call. Mom had just been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. The news was shocking. Unlike Moses' dilemma, there didn't seem to be any water ahead. We were told to prepare for the inevitable.
No soundtrack played to signal that the cancer was going to disappear. Mom didn't suddenly wake up and receive instant healing. Instead, prayers and plans were made to turn around and face this enemy.
And, like the faithful of old, we waited for the Lord.
The days that followed involved chemotherapy, physical therapy, countless hospital visits, prayer and a lot of sweat. It wasn't easy. There were many times along the way when it looked hopeless. Our 72-year-old, vivacious, independent mother lost the ability to walk and even dress herself. Sometimes, you just felt like crying. But then, sometimes, you just couldn't stop laughing.
I'll never forget our feeble attempt at singing, "Shall We Dance?" from "The King and I" as I tried to help Mom shuffle into the shower.
Dementia made matters even more complicated.
Left on its own, cancer invades and conquers. It can bring darkness and despair. To those who refuse to look, it offers nothing.
However, when God is involved in using the person struck with this vicious culprit, love grows. So many people's lives have been touched because of mom's journey. So many more have learned to value the time that they do have with each other. Some have even renewed their faith in God and their church community.
Amazingly, over past year, my mom has gone into remission. Her mobility and independence is back. Her health has astonished all of us. We are so grateful.
We don't know when the cancer will return. But, we do know one thing for sure. God is always present. He is here to lead us, strengthen us, console us and when the time is right, bring us home.