January 13, 2009
“Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me?’” Exodus 5:22 (NIV)
Tears stung my eyes and my heart ached as I climbed into my car. My emotions swung wildly from assurance that I had said the right things, to doubt in the stance that I had taken. Was I wrong to share with the group that I feel scripturally responsible to teach my sons from II Corinthians 6 to marry a Christ-follower and be “equally yoked” in marriage? I longed to go back to the offended woman and tell her of my great compassion for my fellow sisters who are married to unbelieving husbands. Instead, I pulled out my cell phone to call a friend for some consolation and advice. It was then that the lesson I had learned from the Bible earlier that day pushed its way to the front of my anxious mind.
I’d read in Exodus that morning about Moses in the midst of a very discouraging situation. After years of mistakes, lessons in the desert and insecurity in his speaking skills, he had finally done exactly what the Lord said. He had gone to Pharaoh and said, "Let my people go." Surely now all the pieces would fall into place. He was at the right time and place, and he had obeyed what the Lord had told him. Moses was about to learn a lesson that many of us are facing: The blessings that follow doing God’s will are not always the ones we expect.
He may have expected Pharaoh to get a thoughtful look and say, "Of course you can go, Moses. I know that God is leading you, and we just need to do what He says." That's not what happened, though. Not only did Pharaoh mock God, he doled out even harsher treatment to the Israelites by forcing them to continue to make bricks without the provision of straw. The people were outraged, and they turned on Moses. How discouraging! Things weren't going at all the way Moses had imagined. Now that he was on track with God and walking in obedience, life was supposed to get easier. Right?
All the lessons Moses had learned in the desert shepherding for 40 years served him well now. We see that despite his disappointment, he turned to God in prayer. It was a distressed prayer, but it was real and heart-felt. When he faced an indignant Pharaoh and his angry people, Moses returned to God and poured out his heart. Exodus 5:22-23 tells us, “Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.’” (NIV)
When Moses returned to the Lord with the pain that he was feeling, the disappointment in his circumstances, and the confusion about his calling, God met him there. God didn’t respond to Moses with anger or rebuke. He answered with a glimpse into future freedom and a rousing message for His people straight from the very heart of God. Moses’ struggles didn’t end there, but God had given him the encouragement that he needed to forge on toward the calling.
In the car, I set my cell phone down, closed my eyes and bowed my head. I poured out my confusion and disappointment to God, and He met me there. My emotions settled, my mind found rest and God's peace poured over me. He is good! Doing God’s will is rarely easy, and the blessings of growth may come wrapped in pain. However, we will find Him to be faithful and His Word sufficient when we return to Him.
Dear Lord, Doing Your will and following You is its own reward. Even though the way may get bumpy as we obey, You are always with us. You are faithful to reassure us and encourage us when we come from the places that our own thoughts take us and return to You. Thank you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Birds in My Mustard Tree by Susanne Scheppmann
Developing the Character to Match My Calling message on CD, taught by Lysa TerKeurst
Visit Amy’s blog for more encouragement today.
Are you disappointed in your circumstances despite the fact that you know that you are in God’s will? Return to Him in prayer today.
Ask Him to show you verses of encouragement from His Word. Ask Him to strengthen you to complete the task.
Where do I turn when I’m plagued with fear, doubt, disappointment or anger?
What reminders could I put around me to return to God in prayer during these times?
John 16:33, “’I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”(NIV)
I Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” (NLT)
© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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