I must confess, when I read the book of Exodus I sometimes find myself thinking, “Oh, those faithless Israelites.” Although God showed them His power and rescued them from slavery, they panicked, whined, and complained whenever things got difficult or didn’t go as planned. It’s easy to judge them and think they should have known better. After all, they saw and experienced incredible miracles.
The Bible tells us that the Israelites left Egypt boldly and with fists raised in defiance. That quickly changed, however, when they saw the Egyptians pursuing them and the Red Sea in front of them. The Israelites panicked and told Moses he should have left them in Egypt rather than leading them out to die in the wilderness. That scene was repeated several times when they found themselves in need of water, food, etc. Each time they were faced with a crisis, God provided for them in miraculous ways. Nevertheless, they continued to grumble and complain when confronted with the next challenge or crisis.
The humanity of the Bible has been incredibly real to me during this journey through the wilderness that Vince and I currently find ourselves in. Rather than judging the Israelites, I can clearly see that I am no different than they were. While I would love to think of myself more like Moses, Joshua, or Caleb, instead, I find that I am the worst of the worst. Although God is very near, provides manna in our wilderness, and reminds me that He is using all of this for good, I still end up panicking, grumbling, and complaining. One day I am strong and bold. The next, I am crushed with fear and doubt.
It is humbling to read the book of Exodus now. Unlike the Israelites, I am not being chased by an enemy that wants to kill or enslave me. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, plenty to drink, health and a healthy family, and basic supplies and comfort. Still, I struggle and complain because life is not as I thought it would be or progressing as I believe it should. I am encouraged when I read Exodus now and see how the Israelites struggled and yet God, in all His faithfulness, fought for them and provided. I know the God of the Bible is still the same God I serve today. He is loving, compassionate, forgiving, and powerful.
The past month has been challenging. Although Vince and I continue to take the steps we believe God is calling us to take, our oceans don’t seem to part and our mountains don’t seem to move. Although we press forward, the end of this wilderness appears nowhere in sight. With that thought in mind, I became very discouraged the past few days and had to send out an SOS to my awesome prayer warriors.
Breakthrough came when I asked God, “Do I believe Vince and I have followed and obeyed you? Do I believe we are exactly where we are supposed to be?” The answer was and is “YES.” Although this has been a long and crazy journey filled with twists, turns, and disappointments, I believe we are where we are supposed to be. In addition, there is a path through this wilderness. My job, our job, is to ask God daily for guidance and the strength to obey. He is doing a work in us and is using this season for our good. I believe that with all my heart. I also believe we will remain in this wilderness until that work is completed. So, I pray I will avoid the pitfall of grumbling and complaining and draw near to Him instead.
To be honest, I didn’t want to write this post. It’s one thing to share God’s lessons after the fact. It is much harder to be vulnerable in the midst of life’s storms. Nevertheless, I sensed God impressing on me to share our struggles now because we are all on life’s journey together. Each of us will face enemies behind us, seas before us, or find ourselves in some harsh type of season in life. Perhaps you may find yourself in one today. If so, be encouraged. God is bigger than what our eyes can see. He is always at work and completely in control. Although we cannot see it yet, He’s got this.
My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and I am praying this back to God today. ………….. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”