I’ve been reading Exodus to my kids, and this past week, we finished the story about the parting of the Red Sea. After reading about this giant miracle in which God saves His people from hard labor in slavery by making dry ground in the middle of the sea, we turned to the next few chapters and saw the Israelites complaining that they are thirsty and hungry. They say Moses must have been planning to bring them out to the desert to die. Remember when God put all of Egypt in darkness except where the Israelites were? Remember when all the firstborn males were killed except for those who had painted blood on their doorposts? Remember any of those miracles that happened just a short time ago in their favor? Do you think the Israelites humbly thank God for these things and ask Him for food and drink when they need it? No, of course not. Instead, they complain until Moses is pretty much fed up with them.
It’s easy for me to shake my head in wonder at how ungrateful and dense those Israelites were. At least it’s easy until I realize I do, and in fact am now doing, the very same thing.
Less than two months ago, we found out we would be moving to Texas in a short time, and in that time, God helped us in big ways and numerous small ways, including making sure we had the exact number of boxes we needed without us having to go looking for any (we had only one moving box left over when we were all packed), helping us sell our house in less than a week with a bidding war to boot, and providing a large number of people to help us when we needed help. These things may not have been the parting of the Red Sea, but they were big to us, and we were constantly thanking God for His provision.
We’ve now been in Texas for a month and a week (I can’t believe it’s been that long already), and we’ve looked at many houses for rent and for sale in our price range (and some just out of our price range) in person and on the Internet. We have prayed hard about this decision. However, we haven’t found one house about which we feel total peace about it being a really good fit for our family. We have one house we keep coming back to, and in fact, we have a contract on it, but we are still in the option period, and we still are not sure. The answer doesn’t seem clear–it seems hazy, foggy, misty, and any other word that describes us not knowing whether we’re making the right decision or not. We have discussed the issue from every angle and rehashed it nearly daily until we are sick of talking about houses.
During this time, my prayers feel like they’re hitting the ceiling and bouncing back around the room, muddling everything up all the more. I feel like God isn’t helping us with this one. I’m sad already because of all I miss from our last city, and I’m a bit unsettled because most of our things (some of which I’d like to find) are inaccessible, but when I feel this sadness, I don’t really spend too much time going to God about it because it feels like He won’t make me feel any better. Most of the time, I try to relieve my sadness and loneliness with Facebook or sweets. After all, did He ever promise to make me feel happy all the time? And ice cream does make me feel better for a time anyway.
Does this sound familiar? Israelites seeing God work in a big way and then not going to God with their new problems? I’ve gone to God many times about the house problem, but as He hasn’t clearly answered immediately, I haven’t trusted that He’s got this under His control, too, the way He had everything under control when we moved. I also haven’t been trusting Him enough to go to Him with my pain.
I heard a sermon two Sundays ago in which the pastor stated that we are sinning every time we go to something or someone instead of going to God. God is jealous of our heart–He wants to be the one to comfort us, partly, I think, because He’s the only one who truly can comfort us.
The other night I took all this to Him, confessing what I’d been doing, and choosing to trust Him with the house situation. I cried to Him with my pain and spilled my heart before Him. I didn’t feel better right away, but the next day I noticed my heaviness had lifted, that I had more peace in my heart. Unlike the sweets that made me feel better instantly (especially chocolate chips) but needed to be reapplied in a short time, this lasted.
I pray that you’ll also take your troubles to God right away and trust Him to take care of you. I pray that you’ll remember what He’s done for you in the past. I pray that I’ll continue to do the same!