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Monday, November 8, 2010

He Will Take Care of the Rest!

You were trucking along, accomplishing something that you were certain God had directed you to do, and then suddenly an impossible circumstance rose up in your way.  You can't go around it, and it looks like you can't go through it.  Now what?  Has God changed the plan?  Is it time to give up?

If you have been following God for very long, you have probably encountered this "wall" at least once.  God told you to start a business or a ministry, begin a friendship or a relationship, go back to school or finish a degree, etc.  You launched in to the project with great enthusiasm and initially God confirmed everything you were doing.  You knew that it was right to start this project, and that God was in it, but now, where is the funding, support, or time?  If things continue as they are, you cannot see any end other than complete ruin.  This is when people around you begin to offer two takes on the situation: (1) "Have faith," or (2) "You're crazy/Give up now."

Now, I have to admit something here.  It is usually really easy to have faith in God when we can see that He is moving in our lives, or when we are having an easy time accomplishing the tasks set before us.  Even if life isn't fabulous in such moments, our faith can be.  However, when we come up against a wall, it seems that sometimes God, as well as our mission, can be obscured from our view.  It is at those moments when we see how faithless we can be.  When we are faced with a certain future--certainly doomed, that is--the world gets a chance to see how much we trust God.  What would people see in you in such moments?

On the Shore

I am reminded today of the Israelites' change in attitude as they left Egypt.  They went out celebrating and singing as they walked out of Goshen and all the other Egyptian cities where they had been living and working. They weren't just happy to be leaving; they were happy to have witnessed a miracle from God that delivered them from Egypt.  I see no evidence that they mistook the hand of God or thought they were coming right back.  They even took their bread dough with them in the kneading troughs (see Exodus 12: 31-39).  These people knew their mission, and they had proof enough that God was with them.
Then, they arrived at the shores of the Red Sea, and they looked back and saw that Pharaoh's army was coming to destroy them or to take them back to Egypt.  All of that joy was quickly forgotten; in fact, the Israelites are recorded as saying to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14 : 11, 12 NIV).  Oh, what shining faith we have exemplified here!

Let us be reminded that the Israelites were not spouting "crazy talk."  They were taking what the whole world calls a perfectly reasonable assessment of the situation.  A few people in top condition might be able to swim across the bottom tip of the Red Sea (might; not likely, though); most people would die.  Even if they had started to run away at that moment, they could not have outrun horses and chariots.  There were women, children, and the elderly in their group, along with many, many animals and heavy possessions necessary for their journey.  This was a truly impossible circumstance!

If faith is assurance of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11: 1), it is clear from their words that they didn't have real faith.  It seems contrary to their attitude of joy and victory as they marched out to the shore, but it makes sense.  It is easy to believe in a God we can see; it is hard, very hard, to believe in a God who is invisible in our circumstances.  Our mind, and our eyes, rebel against our faith.

Stand at the Water's Edge

I think there lies the problem.  We cannot have a strong or lasting faith if, figuratively speaking, we are looking at the waterfront on one side and the chariots on the other.  We need to look up, to God, and trust that He is there, looking back at us, even if we can't see Him, and even though we feel we are acting crazy for doing so.  Can we do that?

Sometimes God calls us to the shore, and our task becomes that simple (or rather, difficult).  We have been called to walk to the water's edge.  That's it.  Can we be trusted to do that?  Can we stop looking around us and just remember that God hasn't asked us to do more than that?  Can we simply believe that God will take care of us, like He said He would do?

Today, if you are facing a "wall" that has risen up in your path to block you from obeying God, remember that God didn't call you to take out the wall--He called you to walk the path.  Your challenge is to stubbornly, firmly, (insanely) stick with the task, fully trusting in God to make it possible.  As God told Moses (who passed it on to the quavering Israelites), "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still," (Exodus 14: 14 NIV).  If you are truly doing His will, and you have seen confirmation of that at the beginning, don't waiver when the circumstances get tough.  Look to God, even if you cannot see Him.  Be still and know that He is with you, and let Him take care of the rest!

I'll let Keith Green take it from here.  His song, "He'll Take Care of the Rest," has lifted my spirits many times while I waited on God to remove the barriers from my path.  I hope it cheers you, as well!

Your comments are welcome, as always.  Until next time, stay savvy!