The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
One morning on vacation, my daughter and I took a walk along the beach. We saw a small crab sidling quickly toward the water. But the tide was coming in, and for every inch the crab progressed, a wave would hit the shore, causing the crab to somersault further back along the sand. After each wave, the crab would right itself and resume its journey toward the water, undaunted. Soon, a small group had gathered to watch this crab. We all laughed sympathetically, knowing that the struggle was in vain — that eventually the crab would exhaust itself and be stranded on the beach, food for seagulls.
One man grabbed a stick, hoping the crab would latch on so that he could toss it into the sea. But to the crab the stick appeared threatening, and it immediately threw up its little pincers, ready to fight. The tiny crab looked so silly trying to fight this big man. Finally, a teenaged boy dumped sand on the crab to stop its fighting, scooped it up in a big mound of sand, and placed it into the ocean.
How much like this crab I am! How I fight when God sends help! I seem almost determined to struggle, as if I know what’s best. But when our efforts fail, we can remember to put our trust in God alone, who places us gently where we belong.
Dear God, help us to recognize when we are relying solely on ourselves, and turn us back to you. Amen.