Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just Believe

Imagine that you are an Israelite.  You are a slave in Egypt.  Your people have been slaves for 500 years.  It is a hard life, but you have a home.  You have food to eat, and clothes to wear.  You have a community amidst your suffering.  Now imagine a man comes out of the wilderness with a message from God.  He was once a member of your enemies household, but now he claims to be one of you.  He claims to speak for the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  God uses him to smite the Egyptians with great plagues.  He has you mark the doorposts of your homes, and the spirit of God passes over the houses of the Israelites.  The spirit of God strikes down all of the first-born of the Egyptians.  At once, you and all of your people are free from the bonds of slavery.  You and all of the Children of Israel march out of Egypt, and into the wilderness.  You leave all of the comforts that you had in Egypt.  You leave your homes and the food that you had in Egypt.  You leave everything that you knew for a wilderness that you do not know.  You are guided by a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of smoke during the day.  Even with this divine guidance you must be wondering to what are you being led.  You reach a large and impassable see.  Your doubt is now raised to its highest level.  How could this be what God has planned for you and his people.  You pressed against the sea, and Pharoah and his army are closing quickly.  You cry out to Moses.  Were there not enough graves in Egypt?  Have you brought us here to die in the wilderness?  Just as your doubt rises to a fever pitch, Moses reaches his staff out.  A mighty wind rises up and splits the sea.  There is a wall of water on the right, and a wall of water on the left.  You and all of Jacob's descendents cross through the sea on dry ground.  As you reach the other side, Pharoah's men have followed into the sea.  When the last Israelite steps out of the sea on the other side, the water returns to where it had come from.  All of Pharoah's men are lost in the deluge.  You have finally been truly freed from your masters.

Do you think that Israelites were foolish to doubt the power of God?  Aren't we just as guilty as they are of not trusting is everlasting goodness to us?  I know I have long doubted his goodness to me.  I flounder like a fish washed up on the sea-shore.  I flop around.  I plead with God.  I criticize God.  It doubt and mistrust were olympic sports, then I would be a gold medalist.  We must take comfort in these stories from long ago.  The same God that worked in the wilderness is alive today.  He wishes to part the Red Seas that we have in our life.  Sometimes I think he holds out for us to trust him.  Sometimes, he will take everything that we rely on away.  He will leave us with nothing but himself.  When everything else is gone, then we have nothing to trust but his everlasting goodness to his people.  God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow.  Nothing in his character has changed from the Red Sea till now.  Sometimes as modern people, we decide in our own minds that he no longer works miracles in this world.  How could God ever change?  If he were to change, then he would have to change a part of his own nature.  He is God and who he is has remained since before there was time.  God still works miracles.  He is able to do more than we could ever imagine.  Where there is no hope, he brings hope.  Where there is death, he brings new life.  Where things seem forever set in motion, he can change their direction.  He is the same God that split the Red Sea.  He is the same God that stopped the Jordan river.  He has made the blind to see, and the deaf to hear.  He is forever himself.  The ball is in our court.  When we feel hopeless, then we ought to hope in him.  When we feel desperate, then we should cast our cares upon him.  He is ready to work amazing miracles in our lives.  Our we strong enough to endure, and to let him do it.  Sometimes, he waits until all of our futile attempts have failed.  He wants us to know who has brought us deliverance.  When it is all said and done.  When he has brought healing to our struggles, then he wants us to look to him.  He wants us to praise him as our deliverer.  He is a good and loving Father.  He would not deny us any good and loving thing.  He just wants to make sure that we never forget where those good and loving things have come from.  If we were only strong enough to never doubt his power.

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