As one year comes to a close and another one begins, I always try to rewind the year and play it back as a highlight reel. It never ceases to amaze me how many significant things happened that barely registered while I was going through them.
As I’m watching my mental video, I find myself thinking, Oh yeah, we made it through that big scary thing! Or Wow, God totally answered that prayer!
The thing about miracles is that God doesn’t always perform them all at once. Yes, sometimes he snaps his fingers and—poof! Instant miracle. But more often I’ve found that his miracles tend to unfold in stages. And when you’re in the middle of one of these slow-cooked miracles, sometimes it feels more like confusion or hard work . . . or even terror. You don’t even realize you’re in the midst of something amazing. It’s not until afterward that you can look back and see where God has taken you.
I wonder if that’s how the Israelites felt when they crossed the Red Sea. They were in the middle of one of the biggest miracles in history, but when they were halfway across, with the sea walls looming on either side and the Egyptian soldiers breathing down their necks, it must not have felt like a miracle. I’d wager they were more riddled with fear than wonder at that point.
But when they took that final step onto dry land and the sea closed behind them on the Egyptian army, that’s when they looked back. That’s when they saw the miracle. And their response? They sang and danced for joy.
When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. . . . Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord. . . . Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.
Exodus 14:31; 15:1, 20
As 2015 begins, I invite you to look back with me on the past year. What has God done in your life—in you—this past year? Look back and sing. Look back and dance.
And as a new year unfolds, look forward to the wonder. Look forward to the miracle.
Because what you’re facing now, even today—this could be your Red Sea. This could be your very own miracle. Don’t forget what he’s done in the past, and don’t doubt that he can do it again.