The people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 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? 12 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!’”13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.”—Exodus 14:10-13, NLT
It has never been easy to migrate, and the challenges and problems implicit in leaving behind everything one knows to confront new difficulties convince the great majority of peple to stay put. Many prefer to suffer under a known pharaoh rather than risking an escape to freedom. “Better the devil you know that they devil you don’t” says the old proverb. Still, others find no devil worth serving, and many of those call themselves immigrants.
Nevertheless, the road to freedom presents dangers, and many times the scenario involves soldiers and armed police. The fear of the Israelites arose from undeniable realities. Poor Moses, as a leader, had to stand up strong against the fear of the people. The relevance of his words of faith continues, three thousand years later: “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.”
If as the leader of a family you hear the remorse of your loved ones, and if they accuse you of having acted foolishly in the decision to immigrate—or if you yourself question such a decision—don’t cave in. It may seem better to remain in slavery in Egypt than to die in the desert, but that is a false dilemma. You will not die in the desert. Listen to the counsel of Moses. The “Egyptians” you see now, you will never see again. You will solve these problems, and better days await you. The LORD will fight for you when you hold on to your faith.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.