Jen’s Gem: Your promised land awaits!
As I read it, I kept thinking, “Here we go again.” You see, the Israelites were waiting for someone to take them out of bondage in Egypt. They waited for hundreds of years and then Moses arrived. (I have to admit, I’m convinced that Charlton Heston really is Moses!) His attempts to convince the Pharaoh to let his people go were met with defiance by this ruler of Egypt and so the plagues began.
One after another until the Pharaoh finally relented. Freedom was in sight for the Israelites – an end to bondage and slavery and poverty that had lasted for generations. Can you say happy dance?
Tens of thousands of people began their trek out of Egypt with the promise that they would be brought to a land filled with milk and honey. God was true to His word. Then they hit the Red Sea. Almost immediately, these once-happy people began to curse God and Moses for leading them to their apparent death. But we all know what happened next.
As they walked through an ocean, held back by the power of God, they were once again praising God. Woo hoo! Can you hear them mocking the Egyptians? “Ha! Our God showed you!” But wait.
This elation would not last. As they made the trek to their promised Promised Land, their memories of this miracle quickly faded. Even as God dropped bread from the sky and caused quail to reverse their flight paths and drop to the ground in front of them so His people would be fed, they complained. I can just hear them:
Why? In short, because they complained and whined and blamed God for all of the bad things that happened to them. They didn’t see that they were in the midst of miracles on a near-daily basis. Miracles like the parting of the Red Sea. Miracles like food dropping out of the sky. Miracles like water being drawn from rocks. Yeesh – the list goes on and on!
Now, before you or I judge these men and women of old and label them as ungrateful, we must ask ourselves if we are any different. If you look deep, as I did this week, you’ll likely see that we are exactly the same. When things go well in our lives, then there must be a God and He is good. When things go south, our belief and faith go out the door and God is all of a sudden not so good.
We point our fingers at God and blame Him for the troubles in our lives. But you know what they say about pointing a finger at someone else? (Those other four fingers are pointed at us.)
It is human nature to want to blame someone for our life’s troubles. Lost job? It must’ve been that terrible boss. Financial setback? It had to have been those corrupt bankers and politicians. I could go on and on.
Here’s what I have learned as my faith and trust in God continues to deepen. Are you ready?
Here’s how God works. He created us. He wants nothing but the best for us as any father would for their child. He has given us a b-zillion tools and resources to help us navigate these eighty or ninety years on this planet. Does this mean we will live a worry-free life with no challenges if we believe? Nope. But when you hit your Red Sea, you can bet your bottom dollar that God will get you through it and bring you to your very own Promised Land.
Knowing these simple truths has gotten me through a pickle or two these last years. Now, did I do it perfectly? Did I skate through? Again, a big fat nope. I was just like those Israelites from time to time. I whined and complained when things didn’t go my way. But as I get to know God and His Son Jesus more, my whining and complaining “benders” are getting shorter and shorter.
This week I’d like to encourage you to consider the miracles in your life. Recognize each one, no matter how big or small. As you do, send up a prayer of thanks to the God who had His hand in it. (Oh – and if you think it was you alone, think again. He’s the one who gave you the brain that came up with the great idea!)
Your Promised Land is right in front of you. Don’t let it take you forty years to get there.