How many times have you felt abandoned by God in your life? Even the most devout followers have had to have moments of doubt or concern wondering “where is God?” We often hear that after a calamity or natural disaster. Why does God let us go through trials? Why did God allow the Egyptians to be even crueler?
Why does God allow things to happen is an age-old question, and I’m afraid I don’t have an answer either. What a wise old woman once told me is this, “If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” She said her Daddy used to tell her that growing up. Trials and struggles will come. We are not promised a trouble-free life as followers of Jesus. But we can control how we handle the challenge.
When you think of a goldsmith refining his gold, there is a lot of heat from the flames. What comes out is a beautiful piece, but only after lots of heat and manipulation. Brian Doerksen wrote a beautiful song, “Refiners Fire” LISTEN HERE. How can we use this image to be better ourselves?
The other important thing to remember is that God’s timing is not our own. We may have a great idea of how things should be working out. We may even tell God what we think. I’m sure he just smiles. He has everything set to work out as he wants. Even if he has to harden somebody’s heart, like he said he was doing in our passage today. Pharoah’s heart was hardened by God so that it didn’t look like Moses just waltzed in and waltzed out. We are going to see God’s power at work, and that is the point.
Do you struggle with being patient as I do, as you wait on God? I must admit I’m getting better. It’s something I work on to be more relaxed. By nature, I tend to want to fix everything in sight. If I were to fix things “my way,” it certainly may not be fixed as brilliantly as God will do it. In his timing. I must wait.
In today’s reading, we have some very disgruntled individuals. Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, and he doesn’t want to see his workforce disappear, even if for only a few days. The Israelites are torn. One minute they are believing in Moses and his plan for rescue and the next almost hating him for stirring the pot, upsetting Pharoah, and making them work all the harder. And Moses and Aaron are left scratching their heads because they thought God wanted them to rescue the people!
As for Pharoah, he didn’t even know this God. Why should he trust these two people who are asking for him to shut down production so they can go worship an unknown God? It was such a crazy request he decided to increase the harshness in which his slaves were treated.
So what do we do when we feel this way? What did Moses do? He called out to God. He didn’t sit there and stew or complain to the world. He went to the source and said, in essence, “what’s up, God?” We’ll have to wait and see how God responds.
Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when I get frustrated with a process that isn’t working for me. Refine me to be set apart for your work in this world. May I see trials and challenges as ways you are allowing to make me stronger. May I get better and better each day at being more patient as I wait for your timing. Thank you that you are moving in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.