What comes next?

My last months of high school should have been happy and carefree, but instead they were a very turbulent time. I really wanted to move to New York and pursue a career in dance, but my parents and teachers were determined that I should go to college. 

Deep down I knew they were probably right. But I felt that going to college would mean giving up the thing that meant the most to me. To make things worse, in the middle of all this mental wrestling, I hurt my back, and I could hardly walk—much less dance. The pain was horrible.

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My Sunday School teacher was a Christian Science practitioner, and she had prayed for me once before when I’d injured my foot. I’d been healed that time, so I called to see if she would pray about the back issue. She agreed and invited me to come for a visit. 

No matter what things looked like, there was an unexpected answer waiting for me, and it was entirely good.

As I left her house after our visit, she came out on the porch and called to me, “Julie, when the children of Israel were about to cross the Red Sea, they had to not be afraid to get their feet wet!”

As a little girl in Christian Science Sunday School, I had learned the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and toward the land of freedom, which God had promised to them. During their journey, they were faced with a terrible dilemma when they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. Should they turn back and be captured or slaughtered, or go forward and drown in the sea? That’s what the choice looked like.

Humanly, there seemed to be no way out. But God had an unexpected answer: God parted the Red Sea and they went forward safely—on dry ground! No matter what it looked like initially, they didn’t even have to get their feet wet. They simply had to obey God and move forward in faith, knowing that God was showing them the way. 

I understood that my Sunday School teacher was telling me I also needed to trust God and move forward without fear. No matter what things looked like, there was an unexpected answer waiting for me, and it was entirely good. 

But did I actually do that? Not really. I wanted to analyze and plan and not take a step until I knew exactly how things would turn out. That kept me on hold most of the time, and I didn’t like that. I was tired of spinning my wheels, tired of confusion and indecision.

I had learned that God is infinite good—all good all the time. God is infinite wisdom, and doesn’t make mistakes. God is infinite Love, and from this Love comes an endless flow of blessings. Who wouldn’t want to trust this God? As I prayed, I started to get it that the very same God that guided the children of Israel was also guiding me.

I realized I needed to trust God and to acknowledge Him in all that I did, as it says in the Bible (see Proverbs 3:5, 6). I could acknowledge His beauty, His glory, His wisdom, His absolute love for all of His children—me included. And the more I acknowledged God, the less I felt afraid and confused. I saw God, Mind, as the only real “decision-maker,” and I knew that He didn’t make mistakes. 

Soon after this shift in mind-set, I heard about a university that had a ballet major, and I knew it was time to move forward. Around then, I also learned this verse: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ” (Isaiah 30:21, New International Version).

The more I acknowledged God, the less I felt afraid and confused.

This verse assured me that God really was in complete control of my life—directing and guiding me. About that time I realized that my back was no longer hurting, and I was able to move with freedom. In the fall, I went to the university and had a wonderful time. My “Red Sea” opened as I moved ahead with faith.

In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy sheds some spiritual light on the Moses story when she describes the Red Sea as “the dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear.” And she promises us that just as the children of Israel were led on their journey, “so shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, up to the glory prepared for them who love God” (p. 566). That’s exactly what happened for me.

As you grow and go forward, you may encounter your own “Red Sea” moments. If you do, I hope you’ll remember that there’s a solution waiting for you that is better than anything you could have outlined. And God will be guiding you each step of the way.

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