14 October 2013

Not Handling the Pressure (the Israelites' Story, Day 14)

It's great to look at stories of people whose characters shine as gold in a furnace, and learn how they could draw near to the Lord when things got difficult.  But let's face it.  We don't always handle the pressure well--the stress at work, the financial worries, and the problems of life wherever they crop up, get us down, and easily.

We snap under the pressure {at someone else, at ourselves}, our health suffers, we get depressed, whatever.  We definitely don't sense a Savior who's right close by.

So where is He, when we know He has led us all along but we blow it anyway?

Well, there's a huge group of people whose story is in the Bible to first tell us how patient God is and second how not to live our lives.  They're called the children of Israel.

Fresh out of slavery and on the run from the most powerful government in the world, they face life-threatening stresses on a daily basis.  Yet every day they also face life-saving miracles.  You would think they would learn not to worry, right?  Let's find out.

When Pharaoh pursues this massive group of newly-freed slaves to the edge of the sea, God miraculously provides dry ground for them to walk on but closes the walls of the sea over the heads of their enemies.

 After such a mighty deliverance, it seems like they would quit worrying and just enjoy the walk, but they don't.

Soon they're worried they crossed the sea only to die of starvation in the wilderness.  They can't stop for a moment to think that maybe the mighty hand holding back the water could lead them to food.  So they complain about God.  (Not a good thing to do.)

Instead of losing patience, God provides food.  (See Exodus 16.)

After being well nourished, you would think they would stop to remember the way God blessed them in the past before they worried about having enough water to drink, but they don't.

Instead of losing patience, God provides water.  (See Exodus 17.)

After walking through the walls of water, eating miracle-food when there is no other food, and drinking miracle water when there is no other water, the children of Israel hear the Lord's voice and promise to keep His law.  After all this, you would think they would trust in the Lord and be faithful, but they don't and they aren't.

Yet God stretches out His hands of mercy again.  And again.  And again.  Miracle upon miracle, grace upon grace led them and followed them throughout their desert experiences.  It was harder for them to escape the hand of blessing (which sadly some worked hard to do until their dying day) than it was to find it.

God doesn't leave you alone in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to eat or drink, any more than He did that to the children of Israel.  Instead, He travels with you and asks to lead you every step.

Even when you've messed up over and over like the Israelites did, take courage.

"Not because we first loved Him did Christ love us; but 'while we were yet sinners' He died for us.  He does not treat us according to our desert [what we deserve].  Although our sins have merited condemnation, He does not condemn us.  Year after year He has borne with our weakness and ignorance, with our ingratitude and waywardness.  Notwithstanding our wanderings, our hardness of heart, our neglect of His Holy Word, His hand is stretched out still.

"Grace is an attribute of God exercised toward undeserving human beings.  We did not seek for it, but it was sent in search of us.  God rejoices to bestow His grace upon us, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy.  Our only claim to His mercy is our great need."  (White, Ellen G.  The Ministry of Healing.  p.161.)

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  1. I haven't been commenting mine, busy that I am... but I just LOVE the photos in the latest posts. Did you take them recently? I wish you had a place where you shared your photos online... if you ever do, please give me the link.

    The photos and the inspiring writing go so well together!

  2. Such a blessing to read - thanks Lisa :O)

  3. "Grace upon grace, like the waves on the shore
    Always enough, always more"


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