That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
I just read the passage above from Numbers 13 and it reminded me that we need to keep our eyes on God always. It is so easy to lose sight of Him in the face of adversity; especially more so when what we face is humanly impossible. I’ve lost sight of Him many times in my own life and it’s only by grace that I’m learning to rest in Him more these days.
Things like heartache, a difficult relationship or sickness are heavy, heavy things to bear and it is easier sad than done to continue to trust God even when we’ve had experiences where He’s seen us through. Human memory is short-term and sadly we often rely on our feelings more than our past experiences in order to press on in faith.
We need reminders to keep on having faith
The Bible tells us otherwise and the best way to counter feelings of hopelessness & despair is to consistently go back to Scripture to remind ourselves that God is present and that faith is way more than just a feeling.
As I write this I asked God what would be a good verse to help us remember what faith is all about and this verse comes to mind (pardon the mistakes cos’ I’m trying to quote it from memory).
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Whoops! Looks like I missed out the 3 words I highlighted in RED font. Heh! So much for quoting from memory. It’s hard work memorising Scripture and for someone like me who’s always hated mugging it’s doubly hard. I still haven’t made it a discipline yet despite the fact that I read the Bible every day but the more I go through life the more I realise that God’s Word is essential in order for us to come out victors in all situations. Time to get cracking I suppose; I’ve procrastinated on this long enough.
Anyways, I’ve come to the conclusion that things may not always go the way we want it to go in life but our attitudes can determine how we come out of situations. And that can only happen when we can see things differently by surrendering things completely to the God and by trusting that He really does have the best in mind for all of us. Amen?
Waiting on Him
1 From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
2 Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But You offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear You.
5 I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on Him.
I have put my hope in His word.
6 I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.
Sunset in Teluk Kemang
I didn’t really do much in Port Dickson but in the two things I did do I asked God to teach me something and here are gems that I gleaned from two very simple activities:
On Sunday evening I wanted to catch the sunset and so I set out to the lighthouse at Teluk Rachado. I was there way early and spied a small trail that led into the jungle. I figured that I had all the time in the world and decided to see where the trail led. The path wound downhill and much to my chagrin it ended by the sea in a secluded cove that wasn’t at all attractive. The trek back up was torturous and even though I’m kinda fit it was a labourous climb back up.
It can be easy to explore the trail but the way back can be tough and you’ll find at times that what’s waiting at the end of the trail ain’t as great as what you expect/hope it to be. Much like life, our curiosity gets the better of us most times and what we think we want may disappoint us in the end. The journey to get back to where we were can be long & hard but if we have the right perspective of things then we’ll realise that it’s the journey that counts and not so much the destination.
My lighthouse trip to catch the sunset was a bust cos’ the sky was overcast and the sun couldn’t breakthrough the clouds. Disappointed I decided to just head on down and stop by the beach instead cos’ I was looking for a place to run. I hit Teluk Kemang on my way back to my hotel and God had a big surprise for me there cos’ the sunset I wanted to see was waiting for me right at the beach!
Awesome sunsets can be found at an easy to get to location; you don’t always have to go up to the lighthouse to see it. What I learnt is that we don’t always have to work so hard or go so far to get what we want. Sometimes or quite likely most times, God is ready to just bless us if we could only just be patient and if we would just trust Him as we ask. I went up a hill to looking for a sunset but it wasn’t there. Who knew that it was actually waiting or me by the beach and I didn’t even need to trek to get to it.
I could qualify all the above with a verse or two from the Bible but I’ll leave it to you guys to discover some of them for yourselves (or maybe I’m just too lazy… heh).
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May He send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May He remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May He give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when You are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He answers him from His holy heaven
with the saving power of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
O LORD, save the king!
Answer us when we call!
In the Psalm above King David cries out to the Lord from the depths of his heart. That’s what I like most about the book of Psalms. It’s honest. There are no pretenses in King David’s pleas which encourages me to be honest with God too.
When I’m feeling distressed or frustrated I have the assurance that God can and will do something in His time. God’s timing is always best and it’s something that I’m learning to trust in more and more as the days go by. The great thing is that with more trust equals less frustration & distress; which equals more peace in my heart.
Some things in life just need time in order to reach its full fruition and it’s a great comfort to know that we can be honest with God about how we feel. He’s a great listener and unlike most listeners God can do something about the stuff that we’ve told Him. We can count on that!
Following the leader, the leader
Following the leader, wherever he may go
So sang the Lost Boys, Wendy, John & Michael Darling in the Disney adaptation of Peter Pan as they trekked through the wilds of Never Never Land on their adventures. The children trusted the mischievous Pan to lead them which sometimes led them to danger & trouble. Unfortunately the same can’t really be said of us in our own relationship with the Shepherd.
We struggle in following His lead and what’s worse is that we blatantly disregard what He is saying. I figure the problem we have with God is an issue of trust. We DISTRUST Him. We don’t truly believe that He has our best interests in mind & we don’t really think He’s got it all worked out when it comes to knowing what’s best for us. Unlike the Lost Boys & the Darlings, we don’t trust Jesus to lead us in life’s many twists & turns. If you think about it; that’s very odd behaviour if you claim to believe in a God who loves you.
Dare we follow the Leader?
The funny thing is that we trust ourselves more even though we know we are limited in our knowledge & wisdom. The sad fact is that we think we know what’s best for ourselves ALL THE TIME and our egos refuse to acknowledge that we could be very, very wrong about certain things in life. A lot of what the Bible says & teaches is counter-cultural so of course we’d struggle to wrap our minds around it. It’s alien. Foreign. To put it into practice requires us to consciously decide to think, act & speak differently. It’s hard. Why? Because we will be swimming against the tide and it’s not easy to be different when everyone else around you condemns that difference.
The question I have this morning is this. Do we truly know the Shepherd’s voice? Do we trust Him enough to follow Him all the way and like the Lost Boys go into difficult & sometimes dangerous situations because we trust Him? This question of trust needs an answer because once we’ve answered it I really believe that when we stop struggling to have our own way, life becomes a little easier to handle cos’ we can trust God with the results whether they are to our expectations or not.
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Something I read this morning that reminds me that we can ask Him for our deepest desires and that we can trust that they will come to pass in His timing. The key words here are “His timing” cos’ most times we human beings are impatient creatures and we always want things to happen OUR WAY, NOW!
Life in my opinion can be better & happier if only we learn patience and trust. We are human. We can’t see beyond the now and even if we could I think we wouldn’t be able to handle the enormity of the future very well. I keep reminding myself time and time again to stay in the present and to be thankful for what I already have. He will provide for the things that I need in time – again the key word here is “need” and strangely enough He doesn’t just bless us with our needs but He goes beyond and blesses us with our wants & more! How? Here’s an example of God blessing me with more than I asked.
Asking Him? Way better than Googling. Definitely.
The job I’m at now is more than I asked for. Sure it’s more responsibility but more importantly it’s more than what I originally intended in terms of finances. When I first started work last year I was just looking for something part-time but the amazing thing is that I was offered a full-time position (with more money of course) but more importantly I found a company with great management that believes in me. Being where I am at now is pretty amazing if you consider that I was out of the industry for quite a long while doing music. It is a challenge trying to juggle everything in life but as I sit here at y desk this morning and remember Him for the blessings that He has brought into my life, I know that He has given me more than I asked for and in everything that I hope for now I can trust Him in that.
What is the coolest thing about my job now? Well … it’s small I know but I can’t help but wake up every day and feel thrilled to be using Microsoft’s newest OS before any one else. Maybe it’s the geek in me or its just the fact that I like getting in on new things like sneak peeks and such. That’s one thing that I can be thankful for today. Before I sign off I’d like to leave all of you with the following.
“Remember Him for His goodness today for the things that are to come tomorrow.”
Big bad life can be like a big bad robot. Worried yet?
All of us worry at one point or another in life. We worry when we’re facing challenges. We worry when we think about the future. We worry especially when things are spinning out of control. How do we handle life when so much is out of our control?
I’m learning how to really do my best in any situation and for the things that are really out of my control I just leave it to God. I’m not saying I don’t worry about stuff … I still do but I am learning to catch myself from falling into despair by saying a quick word to Him in my heart and trusting that whatever the outcome that He is in control and that ultimately it’d work out for my good and the good of those around me. How we define what “good” is is another topic altogether but that’s something for another day.
The most awesome thing is that the Bible assures us that all our needs are taken care of and even though it’s not mentioned; I really believe that those needs include the non-tangible needs like love, companionship and the number one killer for the single guy/girl – the right person to share life with. Of course one might argue that it’s foolish to believe everything would be alright but then again worrying or stressing over things doesn’t add a single hour to life does it?
The next time you’re stressed or worried about something, take a minute and time out and just say a few quick words to God. Here are some words of assurance that God’s got your back. I leave you guys to figure out what the first part of the passage means cos’ that actually has a lot to do about perspective when it comes to our needs and desires in life.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.