God did not immediately part the Red Sea when the Israelites arrived at the crossing point. Instead, he told them to set up camp and wait.
This delay gave the Egyptian army time to overtake them and threaten their newfound freedom.
Only then did God part the waters so the Israelites could scurry to safety.
Waiting is a common element in God’s plans. His provision is often a messy, excruciating, eleventh-hour, last-gasp, skin-of-the-teeth affair.
God may ask us to wait to ensure an optimal result, to protect us from hidden dangers or temptations, or to accomplish something we cannot see.
He may hold off until we are ready, willing, and able to move in a different direction.
He may stand by until we fully commit ourselves to him and his priorities.
But as the Red Sea crossing illustrates, God sometimes directs us to wait so he can contrast his awesome power with the futility of our self-sufficiency.
God says he is good to those who wait for him.
We prefer to believe this declaration means that God will reward us with physical health and material abundance if we endure our hardships with patience and virtue.
But what it means is those who wait for his deliverance will deem him to be good.
As we draw near to God during distress and see the outcomes he produces, we will understand his excellence in new ways and at new levels that we did not comprehend previously.
We will realize that he truly is who he claims to be—our refuge, comforter, redeemer, deliverer, and friend.
We will discover that his love is inexhaustible, unchanging, unwavering, ever-present, and utterly dependable.
We will learn firsthand that when other sources of contentment fade, God himself is enough to satisfy our soul.