G‑d knew that the Jewish people would not feel totally free of Pharaoh’s clutches as long as he remained alive, and that the potential threat of his pursuit would prevent them from receiving the Torah fully. So G‑d again made Pharaoh stubborn, inspiring him to pursue the Jews to the shore of the Sea of Reeds (the Gulf of Suez). Seeing him approaching, the Jews panicked.
Embracing Spiritual Challenges
וּפַרְעֹה הִקְרִיב וגו': (שמות יד:י)
Pharaoh drew near. Exodus 14:10

The Midrash offers another interpretation: By chasing them, Pharaoh drew the Jews nearer to G‑d, as evidenced by their crying out to Him when they saw the Egyptian army approaching. Indeed, it is often opposition that awakens our deepest reserves of energy.

When we are confronted with a challenge, we should view it as an opportunity for spiritual growth rather than try to avoid it. Comfort and contentment can cause us to lose sight of priorities, weakening our sense of urgency in our Divine mission. Physical or spiritual adversity can shock us out of this indifference, undermining our self-assurance and affording us the opportunity to advance in our relationship with G‑d by breaking through the obstacle.1