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David Otten: Stop trying and start trusting

By David Otten
Contributing writer
updated: 3/24/2019 5:23 PM

Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.

Picture yourself on a flight and when the plane begin to taxi down the runway you begin flapping your arms. The flight attendant comes along and says, "What in the world are you doing?" You say, "I'm helping this plane get off the ground!" She says, "Um, you really don't have to do that." You shoot back, "Yes I do! I'm committed to making this work!" She says, "Trust me, you can just sit back and relax. This plane will take off without your help."

Let's go back in time to Moses with the children of Israel on the banks of the Red Sea. You and the other Israelites have just been released from bondage, but Pharaoh has a change of heart and you discover that he is bearing down on you with 600 chariots, the F-35s of the ancient world. Your back is against the wall. What do you do?

Scripture tells us in Exodus 14:11-12, "They said to Moses, 'Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.'"

Yeah, let's just complain and point fingers.

Can't you just imagine Moses asking God, "Why is this happening?" Answer? So the people stop trying and start trusting.

Moses isn't told by God to just tell the people, "Don't worry, be happy." Moses isn't dabbling in pop psychology. We continue to read in Exodus 14:13-14: "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. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

The Israelites can stop flapping their arms, they can stop trying and start trusting, trusting in God. The God who showed His strength in the plagues against Egypt. The God who keeps His promises.

We may find our backs against the wall and start doing something crazy, like flapping our arms to fly or just pointing fingers. Look to the mighty acts of God, particularly the ones in Jesus our Lord. We see His miracles, His care for the sick, His love for humanity, His death and resurrection.

Surely if Jesus can step out of the grave, He can bring us out of our darkness. It is not blind faith, but faith in our God who acts in history and continues to care for his people. May God use the challenges in our lives to teach us trust. Even our currency reminds us, "In God We Trust."

• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.