(Psalm 105:39-41) 39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. 40 They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert.
For the lonely, for the lost; when you struggle to believe; when you feel forgotten, discouraged and defeated; when your money’s run out and your hope is spent…
For the childless woman with a mother’s heart, for the widow, for the bereaved; when you wonder why; when sadness overwhelms your heart…
For the broken family, for the abused and neglected; when you’re numb and your faith is dead; when guilt and shame have crushed your spirit…
(Psalm 139: 1-5) 1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
…the Lord knows.
Sometimes you have to take a look in the rearview mirror, to gain some retrospective. I’m sure if you were to ask the Israelites in the midst of their journey through the wilderness how they felt about life, they probably wouldn’t have had much positive feedback. They were, in fact, dealing with crisis after crisis, misery upon misery (or so it seemed to them). When their exodus began, they were exhilarated by their deliverance and the miracles they had seen take place in order to set them free. They set out toward the promised land much like a child sets out on a foot race…full speed ahead. However, we all know what eventually happens to that eager runner. Thirst, exhaustion, discouragement and frustration all seem to set in at once. That’s when he is faced with the choice to either dread the long road ahead and quit, or to look back on what he has conquered thus far and finish what he started.
For the Israelites, there were MANY stops and starts as they navigated their way toward something that, at times, I’m sure was hard to believe or trust. Looking forward, it had to be unsettling to see no end to the struggles. Thousands of years later, here we are, children of God, dealing with the same issue. Because we are human, because our vision is limited and we cannot see the entire scope of what God is doing in our lives, we have to depend on our faith to keep us moving. Looking back on the trials, the Israelites were able to recount what the Lord had done to sustain them.
A good friend once told me to record my prayers (both great and small) in a journal and to go back after a year or so and allow myself to be encouraged and amazed at just how many of them were answered. It doesn’t happen, rarely ever, the way that we would have imagined or hoped for it to…the answer, I mean…because you know what? Sometimes the answer is a no, or the dreaded, “we’ll see.” In our impatience and petulance, instead of forging on in faith, trusting the Creator of the world, we let our human”ness” bring us to a halt.
In our loneliness we say, “I’m forgotten.”
In our financial distress we declare, “This is hopeless.”
In our loss we cry out, “I can’t go on!”
In our shame we whisper, “I’m worthless.”
But the word of the Lord says this: 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I look back on my life I see Your hand in all things, the joy and pain alike, and because of Your faithfulness I will continue to trust in You. Amen.