The deluge of rain reduced visibility to almost nil, forcing me and other drivers on the road to inch forward. As my usual twenty-minute commute stretched to well over an hour, I offered up prayers for God’s protection over us as I begged for the rain to cease.

Fear amid trying circumstances will often drive people to call out to God. When, by divine power, a powerful hailstorm struck Egypt (Exodus 9:24-25), Pharaoh swallowed his pride and begged the God of Moses for relief. God relented, bringing a halt to the thunder and hail. But “when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail and thunder had stopped, he and his officials sinned again, and Pharaoh became stubborn. Because his heart was hard, Pharaoh refused to let the people leave, just as the Lord had predicted through Moses” (Exodus 9:34-35).

If God knew what Pharaoh’s response would be, why did He answer Moses’ prayer to stop the rain? Earlier in the chapter, we read that once Moses announced the next plague of hail, some of Pharaoh’s officials who feared God hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside for protection (Exodus 9:20). This is the first instance recorded where Egyptians responded directly to God’s word through Moses. Then we see that upon Pharaoh’s eventual release, the Israelites didn’t leave Egypt alone; they were accompanied by others who had witnessed God’s work and chose to believe (Exodus 12:37-38).

It’s possible God took these people, outsiders to Israel, into consideration in not unleashing the full potential of the plagues. His actions demonstrate mercy and compassion in the midst of correction. God still shows mercy to those who turn to Him in love and obedience. Call out to Him today!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Jeremiah 1:1-9