January 12th, 2020

Continuing to Trust (Thriving in the Hard Times Week 6)

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” ~Genesis 12:1-4

God made Abram a promise not only that his descendants would be numerous, but that He would bless them and make them a great nation. Fast-forward 300 years. Yes, they are numerous, yet they are in bondage. They weren’t just slaves. They were treated horribly.

So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. ~ Exodus 1:13-14

So the trials of the Israelites began. I wonder if as they told stories of the patriarchs to the next generations if they shook their heads thinking, “This is not how it’s supposed to be.”

I once thought the Israelites were extremely self-centered people lacking faith. The amount of whining they do in the book of Exodus seems to support that. But after walking through all I have, I realize the truth—they wanted to trust again. They had just endured so much pain they lost sight of the promise.

Sound familiar?

Instead of reading the book of Exodus with a judgemental eye on God’s people, I encourage you to read it with a desire to see God’s hand at work. If you do, you will see God is faithful in moving His people towards His promise.

**Though Pharoah ordered the midwives to murder the baby boys, the midwives refused because they feared God. They continue to grow in number and God blessed the midwives with their own children.  (1:15-17)

**He brought plagues to show His power and get the Pharoah to let his people go. (Exodus 7-11)

**God causes the Egyptians to give the Israelites riches (12:35-36)

**He fed His people in the wilderness for forty years (Exodus 16)

**The Lord helped them fight and win numerous battles (starting in chapter 16)

Yes, the people complained about the food. They complained they didn’t have water. They complained when Moses was gone meeting with the Lord for days. But God was faithful to continue moving them towards His promise. It was only when they showed complete lack of faith in overcoming the Canaanites that He said that generation would not see the promise land. He didn’t take it away from all the people, only the group who showed disbelief.

I know what it’s like to pray for healing on Earth only to watch the one you prayed for pass into heaven. I’ve been in pits so deep there seemed to be no light. We have had such hard times financially we didn’t know where our next meal would come from. I have experienced such awful physical pain I never thought it would end. But here’s the truth: God has been faithful and is moving me closer to His promises. There are lots of promises in the Bible, but Jesus makes us several in Matthew 5:3-10:

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
    for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

The key? We must continue to trust. We can’t become like the ten spies who explored the Promise Land and decided God wasn’t enough to conquer the giants. (Numbers 13) We need to be like Joshua and Caleb, remembering His promises, recalling His victories, continuing to trust.

At the beginning of the week, my problems felt like too much to handle. I’m trying hard not to stress out, but anxiety was rising. So, every time it started to rise, I said aloud, “God, I trust You.” Then I would pray for His provision and my peace. I’d remind myself how He always provides for our needs. By the end of that day, I was praying, not stressing. By the end of the week, He had provided in abundance.

I don’t know what you’ve gone through. I don’t know the place you’re in right now. I do know God ALWAYS keeps His word. Our hurt today is bringing us closer to a better tomorrow. Even if the blessings don’t come until heaven, they will come. But we can count on the Lord to strengthen us in our struggles, be close to the brokenhearted, and provide for us when we are faithful to Him.  We need to shift our eyes from the pain to His promises. Regardless of how bad things seem, of how tired and weary you are, it’s time to trust again.

 

 

 

 

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