Sticky but Hopeful
I guess “milk and honey” is a good thing, but it sounds sticky to me.
Do you all know the story of the Israelites? They had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God sent a man named Moses to get them out and lead them to a far off land He promised would be flowing with milk and honey.
This was a plan they could go for! Problem was, they had to walk through a desert to get there.
Barely a month and a half into their journey, they had had enough. In Exodus 16, they started their constant grumbling against Moses and his brother, Aaron: “We were better off without you,” they said. “We would rather die well-fed in slavery than die hungry in this desert.”
Following God is hard!
We get sand in our shoes, we get hot and tired (maybe even grumpy), we worry there’s no oasis around that bend. He takes us out of our slavery – where at least we knew what to expect! – drags us through a wilderness, and His Promised Land looks so far away… and suddenly what was glorious and good looks sticky and hard.
But when the Israelites grumbled against Moses, they were grumbling against God.
“…He has heard all your complaints against him…
Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.”
Moses, Exodus 16:8
So, what does this mean for me, the next time I grumble? Am I complaining about the bank or the kids or the traffic or the weather… or am I complaining about the Lord?
- “You didn’t give me the decision I wanted.”
- “You aren’t making things go my way.”
- “Don’t You know what time I’m supposed to be at work?”
- “Thanks for the gray skies… again.”
You know what else Moses said? “God hears your complaints.” He knows your grumbles. He knows what you need. He sees it all, your circumstances, your sore feet, and your broken heart.
“Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You.”
People will always disappoint us (and, as a person myself, I will always disappoint other people). Places and circumstances change like shifting shadows – they are an unreliable compass. I jump from today’s problems to tomorrow’s predicaments, out of the frying pan into the fire. If you’re not in a problem now, you either just got out of one or you’ll have one tomorrow.
But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever – He is the God who was, who is, and is to come. When I look to Him, He offers hope – overflowing hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Hope does not mean knowing how your problems will be solved…
Joy doesn’t always mean giddiness…
Peace does not mean everything goes my way..
Trusting in God doesn’t mean the people around you are magically transformed –
But you are.