Have you ever looked at your life and wondered about your journey? Has it been relatively easy, or have there been bumps or potholes through which you’ve had to travel, or possibly a Mt. Everest that you’ve had to climb? I imagine for all of us, our journey has thrown us curveballs and/ or presented us with alternating hills, mountains, or valleys.
I love the following passage, entitled Limitations by Joseph Parker: “A child might say to a geographer. ‘You talk about the earth being round! Look on this great crag: look on that deep dell; look on yonder great mountain, and the valley at its feet, and yet you talk about the earth being round.’ The geographer would have an instant answer for the child. His view is comprehensive; he does not look at the surface of the world in mere detail; he does not deal with inches, and feet, and yards; he sees a larger world than the child has had time to grasp. He explains what he means by the expression ‘The earth is a globe,’ and justifies his strange statement. And so it is with God’s wonderful dealing toward us; there are great rocks and barren deserts, deep, dank, dark pits, and defiles, and glens, and dells, rugged places that we cannot smooth over at all, and yet when He comes to say to us at the end of the journey, ‘Now look back; there is the way that I have brought you,’ we shall be enabled to say, ‘Thou has gone before us and made our way straight.’ 1
As humans, we are not given the luxury of knowing what paths our lives will follow. The question is, will we be discontented on our journey, or will we consider it divinely purposed? Exodus 16:1-3 states, “Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. ‘If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,’ they moaned. ‘There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.’”
Note, this complaining began only a month and a half after God led the Israelites out from their slavery in Egypt. Also note that they were looking to humans—Moses and Aaron—to provide for their needs, not God--the all-powerful God who led them miraculously across the opened Red Sea, rescuing them from the Egyptians pursing them! The Israelites only saw what appeared to be directly in front of them—a lack of food, not knowing that the path God had before them would be filled with manna in the morning and quail in the evening.
One would think this would have provided the Israelites proof again it was God who was providing for them and that He would continue to provide for their every need! However, they are tested and fail again when in Exodus 17:1-2, it appears they have no water. “At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. ‘Give us water to drink!’ they demanded. ‘Quiet!” Moses replied. ‘Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?’"
Over and over throughout the Bible, we see discontent among the Israelites on their journey through life because they were unable to sustain complete trust in the LORD at all times; all they could see were the obstacles that lay before them.
We can be like the Israelites—stubborn, hard-hearted, not fully trusting in God when circumstances appear to be insurmountable; or, we can view our lives as being divinely directed by our Good Shepherd, understanding that “…when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2
Let us believe the prophets in the Bible, men who have gone before us, giving their lives fully unto the Lord. God gave this promise to Isaiah to be delivered to the Israelites, and when we believe in Christ as our Savior, we are grafted into that family—adopted— and the same promise holds true for us: “I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be My sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the Lord in His mercy will lead them; He will lead them beside cool waters. And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. See, My people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt.” Isaiah 49:9-12 What a promise for our future!
Each of us has a different road to travel. While journeying, let us always remember that our Lord is powerful enough to lead us through any and all circumstances and that, in due time, He will make our mountains into level paths. Let us always trust that God's love for us surpasses all understanding and that as He guides us on our journey, He knows the end picture. Though our path may seem impossible at times, God has only our welfare and the welfare of those whose lives we touch in mind: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11
Through the good times and bad, through every trial and pothole, through every curveball that life throws at us, let us trust our Maker who will lead us from darkness into His eternal light of life.
1. Leaves of Gold, revised 1948 by Donald G. Remley, Coslett Publishing Company, p.72.
Exodus 16:9-11 “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Announce this to the entire community of Israel: Present yourselves before the Lord, for He has heard your complaining.’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud. Then the Lord said to Moses ‘I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them: In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
Romans 15:13 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
PRAYER: Lord, I admit I can be stubborn, but please use that stubbornness as a force that will never deny You, but always as one that will trust in You and the design You have for my life. Help me always rely on the fact that Your love for me far surpasses anything I can imagine, and help me understand that whatever You allow to take place in my life, whether good or what I deem to be bad, difficult, or impossible, will be used in the end for good and for Your glory. I once more fully submit myself to Your will, Father God, whatever that may be. May You use my hands, feet, and heart for Your honor and glorification. Amen.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.