A good friend and faithful servant of the Lord, Pastor David Givler (Christ Covenant Church in San Antonio, TX), wrote some of us the other day to give us an update on some trials he and his family have been through recently. The last part of his letter updated friends and family concerning some personal matters but the first part was a general exhortation that I thought would be useful to many. So, here it is…
I am reminded that when God led the children of
into the desert, they grumbled, murmured, and complained. In their new surroundings, they saw only rocks, dirt, undesirable neighbors, and inconvenience. They equated these things to hopelessness and they took that hopelessness as license to challenge God’s wisdom and his right to rule. Israel
If they had seen more clearly, they would have realized that the stuff of the wilderness and its despair was a background for displaying God’s grace. The difficulties and challenges should not have been the focus, but should have served as a contrast that heightened their perception of God’s kindnesses to them. After all, who appreciates a gift more, a rich person or a poor person? Who appreciates a feast more, a full person or a hungry person? It only makes sense that it was in the face of the Egyptian army that God parted the Red Sea for
’s deliverance. It was in a parched place where he miraculously gave them water. It was in a barren place where he gave them manna, that miraculous bread from heaven. It was in a deserted place where he gave them more quail than they could eat. And it was in a land of endless toil where he gave them one day out of seven to rest with a clear conscience. Israel
So, here we are in our wilderness journey. And, lest we sound too pious, let me confess that we have had our share of focusing on the wrong things, having bad attitudes, and having moments of downright depression. But, as we remember
’s journey, we are moved to remind each other how the difficulties have been like that desert backdrop. The real story in the foreground is about how God carries us through the difficulties. He has given us springs of unexpected joy. He has given us sustenance in the encouragement of friends. And He has energized us with a hope that is even better than that old promised land, Israel Canaan. So, when we really open our eyes, we see that God is very good to us, even in the most difficult of times.