Strength for today, hope for tomorrow – Part 2
But Israel didn’t break out in anticipatory praise and eager expectation of this display of God’s glory. When they saw over six hundred chariots from the strongest army on earth bearing down on them, fear gripped their hearts. And once again, they interpreted their situation as evidence that God meant to do them harm:
The people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10–12)
Just like the Israelites, we often misinterpret the hardships of our life as evidence that God is against us. Such wrong thinking about God inevitably results in sinful attitudes and actions. When our life is falling apart on the outside, the default response of our flesh is to fall apart on the inside. Anxiety. Despair. Fear. Anger. Bitterness. Just like the Israelites, we are prone to think hard and bitter thoughts toward God when we can’t see a way out.
God Always Works for Our Good
The very circumstances that Moses and the Hebrews understood to mean that God was working against them were actually the very circumstances in which God was powerfully at work for them. He was actively laying the groundwork for a monument to His glory that would be the joy of His people for generations.
When Pharaoh increased their workload and made their lives miserable, God was at work. When Moses complained, God answered, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh” (Exodus 6:1).
When the people railed against God at the Red Sea, they failed to see that God was at work in their circumstances, not simply in spite of them. And though they impugned God’s motives, they received this comforting word:
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13–14)
I can never rely on my finite, emotional, human perspective. The very events that I misconstrue to mean that my life is falling apart are likely the groundwork God is laying for another monument to the glory of
His redeeming grace.
“We often fail to see that God is at work in our circumstances, not simply in spite of them.”
Unlike my fallible feelings, this is reliable grace from God that holds me together. I know it’s true because fifteen hundred years after the exodus, God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us (Romans 8:32). Jesus’s own disciples misinterpreted the crucifixion of their Lord to mean the death of their dreams. Perhaps, if they had discerned this pattern in the character and ways of God — that God loves glorious rescues — they wouldn’t have been so slow to believe that the Son of God had to suffer and die before rising to rule and reign (Luke 24:25–27).
So, the next time it feels like your life is falling apart, fear not, stand firm, and brace yourself to see the salvation of the Lord. You have only to be silent while God works for you. The exodus is an example and Jesus is the guarantee that God can and will work all things for the good of those who love Him.
When anxiety or fear or discouragement or confusion abounds, the silent monologue within our hearts boils down to this one question: “What reason do I have for hope right now?”
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