This week we finished up a series that was called “The Land Between”. It was based on the time that the Israelites spent wandering the desert after Moses helped them escape from Egypt. I believe Pastor Josh said the trip from Egypt to the Promise Land should have taken 16 days but it took the Israelites 40 years to get there. 40 YEARS!!! The reoccurring pattern in this story is, the Israelites would start to lose hope and faith, they’d start to whine about what they didn’t have, God would provide what they needed, then they’d be happy for a bit, and then it would start all over again. Makes me wonder, if they had just put all their faith in God right from the get go, and never got distracted by their situation, would they have gotten to the Promise Land in 16 days? Which also raises the question, how often are we guilty of the exact same thing? It’s human nature to feel like the world is against us the second something goes wrong! “If only I could catch a break…….. Why isn’t God helping me?…….” What if we stopped focusing on our situation and just said, “I trust you God” and actually meant it! He knows our heart so we can say the words all we want, but if we aren’t officially at peace on the inside He knows that we aren’t really trusting Him. Maybe if we did this, we’d get thru those difficult situations in a fraction of the time! The more we complain and panic, the longer it may take!
This story also gives me hope that maybe I’m not just an ungrateful spoiled brat! (hey! I said MAYBE……… 🙂 More times than not when I look back on my “woe is me” moments in life, I see that I did not lean on God at all thru those times. Then I feel guilty that it didn’t even cross my mind! I was too wrapped up in my own pity party! I think, how can I call myself a christian if I don’t even have enough faith to think that God can help me in these times? The Israelites make me feel soooo much better about this! They were seeing HUGE miracles happen right in front of their eyes and they still struggled with faith! The Red Sea split in half for them! Food fell from the sky! Water came out of a rock! But they still got off track and consumed by their situation. Sure, It’s easy for us to read this story and think “what more did these people need in order to believe?!?! What a bunch of cry babies!!!” But I’m afraid we tend to be just like them :/ Nothing has made this clearer to me than Facebook! On good days people are quoting scriptures, reposting everything Joyce Meyer has to say, talking about how great God has been to them, but then on a bad day……..look out!!! They’re blowing up FB about how awful their lives are and how no one helps them, nothing ever goes right…… blah, blah, blah. This kinda drives me crazy cause what is it making the nonbelieving FB friends think? Our God is only there for us when everything is going perfect? Surely we don’t really think that! (p.s. if you’re my friend on FB this is NOT aimed specifically at you! I have a lot of friends on there that do it! But if you thought it coulda been aimed at you……..STOP DOING IT!!!! Haha, kidding……….or am I???? 😉 I do get it tho, it’s hard to stay positive when it seems like everything is going wrong.
I often find myself praying that God will help me to get outta my own way. I seriously believe that my own thoughts, insecurities, fear, anxiety, and lack of faith have gotten in the way of soooo many things I was meant to accomplish in life. I. love. my. comfort zone! I totally coulda been one of the Israelites that said “I was better off a slave! At least I had food!” cause I really don’t love change :/ In the last few years I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone more than ever! Joining the worship team was something way out of my comfort zone cause I’m actually a very shy person. I don’t like being up in front of people, it terrifies me! Now that I took the leap of faith, it’s one thing in my life that I know I was called to do. But if I hadn’t gotten a sisterly shove, I never would have done it myself! I coulda come up with all sorts of reasons as to why it was a bad idea. My brain woulda got in the way! I’d imagine that’s exactly what made the Israelites act the way they did. They knew what to expect when they were in Egypt, even if they were slaves, life was predictable.
I’m afraid I’ve gotten a bit off track here, back to the land between. You may be wondering what that might mean for us. Obviously we aren’t trapped wandering in the desert like the Israelites were. For us this “land” may show up as the death of a loved one, a divorce, being fired from a job….. pretty much any life changing situation. Sometimes we pack our bags and drive ourselves to “the land between” because it’s a choice we made. While other times we’re kinda unwillingly pushed out of a moving train into the middle of it. We don’t always have control over the changes that happen in our lives but we ALWAYS have control over how we respond to them! Personally, I think we have a much better chance of responding in a positive, constructive way if we lean on God to bring us thru! Some things are just too hard for us to handle on our own! Even the situations that we DO choose can be difficult to handle! We start to doubt that we made the right decision as soon as we realize it’s not gonna be as easy as we expected. We need to get outta da way and let God lead us thru these hard times! He’s got this! Might not be as fast as we want it to happen, or the exact way we want it to happen, but if we fully trust Him, he will bring us thru better than we ever could have imagined!
This series was based off the book “The Land Between” written by Jeff Manion. If it sounds like something you can relate to I highly recommend checking out the book 🙂