Friday, May 10, 2013

deuteronomy 7:17-24

One thing we often ask ourselves as Christians is "Why?"  At least I do.  I mean, if God has the power, (and we know He does) to create the universe, cast out demons, and calm the seas, then why in the world does He allow so much pain and suffering in our lives?   Why does He not lift up His holy hand and put a STOP to it?!  I realize that there is pain that comes as a result of our own actions and poor choices, but what about the pain that pours into your life when you aren't looking.  The pain you didn't ask for.  You didn't expect. 

The pain caused by other people around you. 

There are times when the poor choices of others cause you pain.  Why?  I myself have wrestled with this particular question lately.  In fact, today has been one of those days for me.  I am waiting for JP to come home from his dad's house.  I came into my bedroom, sat down on my bed and had every intention of turning on Pandora and relaxing to music until he arrived. 

Instead I picked up my Bible on the nightstand beside me.  This Bible is old.  Worn.  When I picked it up, literally an entire section fell out into my hand.  Rather than reinsert it in it's place, I decided to read the passage.  And I'm glad I did. 

"You may say to yourselves, 'These nations are stronger than we are.  How can we drive them out?'  But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.  You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out.  The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.  Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.  He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven.  No one will be ale to stand against you; you will destroy them."   Deuteronomy 7:17-24 (emphasis mine)

In these verses, Moses is speaking to the Israelites.  He was promising them that God was going to destroy their enemies, He was just not going to do it all at one time.  Now the Bible does not say this, but I can imagine that their minds were filled with questions. Why would God not just destroy the enemies in one clean sweep?  Right then.  Moses answers that question in verse 22, " will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once or the wild animals will multiply around you."    If God had allowed the Israelites to destroy their enemies all at once, (insert your imagination), the scene would have quickly become a feeding frenzy for the animals of the wild.  And not only would the animals make a meal of the enemies' remains, they would have caused serious harm (and most likely death) to the Israelites.  The Israelites were not able to see past their anxious spirits.  They wanted the source of their pain to be taken away immediately.  But God knew better.  He knew that, in the long run, by allowing their circumstances to be changed "little by little,"   even greater pain would be avoided.

Here I sit.  Like the Israelites, I am anxious in spirit.  I want the pain in my life removed NOW.  The commentary in my Bible for this passage reads as follows:  " God could instantaneously and miraculously change your life.  Usually, however, He chooses to help you gradually, teaching you one lesson at a time. Rather than expecting instant spiritual maturity and solutions to all your problems, slow down and work one step at a time, trusting God to make up the difference between where you should be and where you are now.  You'll soon look back and see that a miraculous transformation has occurred." 

What is the moral to this whole story, you ask?  It's simple.  God is in control. He will take care of us spiritually, emotionally and physically.  He may not always move when we think He should. He may allow circumstances and situations to play out in our lives longer than we would like. Our pain may be great, but we have a responsibility, as His followers, to trust Him. He knows what is best for His children.  So, I am going to do my best to sit back, relax and praise Him through my pain.

Will you do the same?


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