This morning, as I continued my study in Deuteronomy, I was contemplating the fact that it took the Israelites forty years to make an eleven day trip. It's rather astonishing, isn't it?
And yet, when I'm honest with myself, it actually makes sense. I find so many correlations between the Israelites' struggles and my own. There are three areas in my life where I feel like I can never make progress. I desperately try; and yet feel like I'm walking up a downward escalator.
(Yes, I've actually tried it once when Liam forgot to step on the escalator with me. He was too afraid to come down on his own...it's not easy!)
As I spend time reading about the Israelites' time in the wilderness, I begin to understand why God took them the l-o-n-g way to the promised land.
"So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Romans 2:3̶̶̶̶̶,̶4 NIV)
These two verses get me every time. And then there's the verse above from Ecclesiastes. Could it be that I am impatient with God (and my children) because I'm...prideful?
Ouch. Yes.That's exactly what it means.
Thankfully when the Holy Spirit convicts me, He also generously bathes me in God's love and sweet grace!
The Israelites were impatient. They were prideful. They were ungrateful. They struggled.
They forgot the miraculous things God had done before. They complained.
They forgot how wonderfully the Lord had provided for them before. They sinned.
Yes, God disciplined them. And, many times they missed out on His blessings. And yet, He was patient. He remained faithful. He continued to love them.
He brought them safely through the wilderness and into the promised land. (We'll talk about Moses another day...)
As I look at my own long way through the wilderness, I realize that my time here is not being wasted. There are great blessings here. I am being refinded. I am learning. I am growing. I am being stretched.
God is calling me to remain faithful to Him, regardless of where I'm at in my journey.
As I listen to my own children complain, fight, whine, argue, bicker, grumble...yes, I'm being repetive on purpose. There's a whole-lotta-that going on here...when I deal with their 'wilderness flesh' day in and day out, I appreciate (on a much smaller scale) what the Lord must have gone through with the Israelites.
And, I'm forced to acknowledge that I'm putting Him through quite a lot myself!
When I'm finally able to lay down my pride, I am better able to recognize that God knows best. In all things. His plans are good. His love is true. He is faithful. Regardless.
In place of my pride, I ask God to give me His strength, widsom, joy and patience. Towards myself and towards my children.
Oh, there is so much to learn in this journey. And you know what? Struggles and all, I am thrilled to be making my painfully long journey through the wilderness. Because, when I finally get to the top of my mountain and look down into the land my God has promised me, I know it will have been worth it all.
God is victorious and He will be glorified!
My Friend, wherever you are in your journey, I pray that God continues to reveal His incredible love for you. Even if you are feeling weak and greatly discouraged, take heart, and don't give up! Keeping pressing through, even if you can only take one tiny step at a time. He will bring you to the next place. And I promise (better yet, God promises) it will be good!
And regardless of where you are, it will be good, because He will be there.
Wilderness or promised land, we are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!
One step closer...