One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is wait on God. In many ways and for various reasons, I am actually currently in a season of waiting on God, which is a lot more difficult than it may sound. I’m sure if you’ve ever been in a season of waiting, you understand.
You see, sometimes it’s easy to assume our plans are the best plans and our timing is the perfect timing. After all, who should know how to run our lives better than ourselves?
What’s easy to forget, however, is how truly perfect God and His timing is.
As I’m waiting for God to give me clear direction for my life and waiting for my knight in shining armor to finally ask me on a date, I am at a point of desperation where I have nowhere and no one else to seek but God himself. And this, my friends, is just where I need to be.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
In the process of waiting and finally running to God, I’m realizing that before my season of waiting is over, I must learn how to completely find my delight in Him. I can continue to put my hope in the promises He’s given me, but I must realize and accept that nothing else in this world can ever satisfy me the way God does. Until I realize that, I will continue chasing after things that are only getting farther and farther away from me. If I truly trust that God knows the desires of my heart and He’ll give them to me when the time is right, I must let go and just simply find joy in Him. Despite the pain. Despite the impatience. Despite the trials and temptations.
About six months ago, I was waiting on a word or appearance from God. I was waiting on a large booming voice to come from the sky, a glistening and glorious face to appear in my dreams. I just wanted to see Him and hear Him and feel Him like I’ve never experienced before. So I waited.
I cried. I pleaded. I begged. I yelled.
One day, as I was reading in Exodus, a passage struck me as peculiar. In fact, I remember I was quite angry.
The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them (Exodus 19:20-22).
Why would you stop them from seeing you, Lord? Why would you not let them come near you? These were the questions that rose to my mind immediately, and an anger resided in me.
After all, there didn’t seem to be any good reason for Him to withhold Himself from His people. If He loves them so much, He shouldn’t be putting up a wall. Right?
A simple reply from the Lord: They weren’t ready.
It wasn’t until months later that I fully understood what that meant. We truly have no idea the plans God has for our lives. He may reveal bits and pieces, but the whole grand picture is inconceivable, even by the wisest of all men. We cannot possibly wrap our minds around how great and awesome God is, and we also can’t grasp how perfect his timing is. We will always be one step behind Him. Usually many, many steps. And in almost all cases, we are simply just not ready for what He has planned for us.
I was not ready to hear a loud booming voice. In fact, I know I’m still not. I was not ready to see His glory in full. I’m still not ready for that either. Will I ever experience these things? I don’t know. If not in this life, certainly in the next.
But I do know this: I hear His voice and see Him more clearly than ever before, and it’s not in the ways I expect. It’s not always in the timing I prefer either. But He somehow manages to show up and present Himself perfectly. Every time.
This is the God we serve. The One who shows up at the perfect time and in the perfect way.
And if you think your plan is better than His, look at what happened to Sarah in Genesis 16. Sarah is given a promise from God himself that she will have children, but instead of waiting on this to come to pass when it is supposed to, she decides to let a little Ishmael be born through her servant, Hagar. Well, that’s an unnecessary mess. There’s a reason we’re called to wait. There’s a reason things don’t happen the way we want them to. The truth is, we don’t know what we’re doing!
Whether you have been waiting for a very long time for something to come to pass or you are just now entering a season of waiting, hold on. Delight yourself in Him, continue trusting in His promises, and most importantly, surrender. It’s weird to think that the things God himself gives us or will give us need to be surrendered, but they do. Sometimes we get so focused on His blessings, we take our eyes off of the grandest blessing of them all- the ability to be in a beautiful relationship with our Savior and True Love.
The book of Exodus is not just a story of the Israelites’ deliverance, though when read without really engaging, it may seem to be. The passover, referring to the protection of the Israelites from the plague on the firstborn, is parallel to Jesus. Stick with me here.
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:12-13)
The Israelites were told to smear the blood of a lamb over their doorway, giving them protection from the plague that would affect the unbelieving Egyptians. In the morning, all the Egyptian firstborns would be dead, but the Israelites would be spared by God. The plague “passed over” them, hence the name “passover” for the remembrance of this event in history.
When reading about blood from a lamb, you may just think about a literal lamb. But when you make the connection to Jesus, it’s so much more. Repeatedly in the Bible, Jesus is called the lamb:
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
“In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!'” (Revelations 5:12)
After really thinking about it, you can see how Exodus is like a sign of Jesus’ coming. Jesus is the passover lamb whose\
blood ultimately rescues us from God’s wrath. This is why the book of Exodus is so much more than just a story. The events that happen in Exodus are miracles all by themselves, but when paralleled to Jesus our Lord and Savior, it just makes them so much more miraculous as reminders of God’s faithfulness and ability to change hearts and lives. Just like the Israelites, we are led out of slavery into freedom. “You were made free from sin, and now you are slaves to goodness.” (Romans 6:18) And that is surely something to rejoice about!
Continuing from my last post, I am going to point something out in the middle of the book of Exodus. When Moses is brought before Pharoah to ask him to let his people go and worship God in the desert, Pharoah refuses. But there is a small detail easy to miss:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharoah all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.'” (Exodus 4:21)
Did you catch that? Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? GOD did.
Now you may be asking, “Why in the world would God purposely harden Pharaoh’s heart when He could just change it instead and avoid all the plagues and devestation Moses is going to perform?” Good question.
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? So His glory and power would be known. True, there were probably easier ways to accomplish the task of freeing the Israelites, but God had bigger plans. God promised deliverance and he chose to fulfill his promise by revealing his strength and power to the max. Miraculous signs occurred and hearts were changed.
How does this apply to you today? Is there someone or something that seems to be standing in the way of freedom and contentment, whether your own or somebody else’s? Instead of becoming discouraged or frustrated with God, trust that He knows what he’s doing. Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives for a bigger purpose, to reveal His glory and strength.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Exodus, the story of a harsh Pharaoh and how the Israelites were led to freedom, is not just something to read and say, “Well, that was cool.” It means much more than that. I have so many things that were revealed to me while reading Exodus so in the next few posts, I will try my best to summarize what I found, in hopes that you too can relate and use Exodus as a guide in your everyday life.
First, a little bit of background information: Exodus begins by showing the Pharaoh in Egypt as the antagonist. The Israelites are made his slaves and they are treated like animals. Then, a man named Moses comes along. Rescued during the time when Israelite newborn babies were ordered to be killed by the Pharaoh, he grew up in the palace with the royal Egyptians. After growing up, he walked outside one day and witnessed the cruel treatment of the Israelite slaves. In anger, he killed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. After this deed was done, Moses fled and built a family in a different land. However, God’s plan for Moses had just begun. While Moses was tending to his father-in-law’s flocks, he stumbled upon a bush covered in flames, though it was not burning up. Caught by his attention, God then spoke. “The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.'” (Exodus 3:7-9)
Whoa, there. Moses’ life just took a dramatic turn. God had a plan for him, a plan that would go down in history and result in the liberation of God’s people. What was Moses’ response to all of this? “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) After all, he was just a father and husband who tended the flocks of his family. In Exodus 3 and 4, you see that he doubted his abilities and worried about his lack of authority. He didn’t believe he could actually perform the miracles and signs God told him he would. He even told God he might not be able to follow through because of a speech impediment. Still, God insisted he was meant for this task. Now hang on a second. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament, made excuses? He didn’t think himself worthy?
Moses, just an average family man, was told to free his people. I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely doubt my abilities if I was told to do something that big. Moses was not a perfect man, he didn’t fully trust that God could use him. But you know what? God came through. His plan worked out miraculously. Moses might not have believed he was worthy or could possibly be used by God, but in the end, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt towards God’s promises for them. He overcame his doubt. He learned to trust.
What then do you think the story of Moses conveys to us? Only a man of great faith and dedication to God can be of importance in God’s eyes? Wrong. God has the ability to use our disabilities and shortcomings to bring about something miraculous, just like God used Moses’ doubt and worries to show his great power and might. God always has something great in store for us even if we might not believe we can actually be used for His glory. We may think ourselves unworthy just like Moses did at first. But if God can ultimately use a man like Moses to bring about a miracle that big and amazing, then what could he possibly have in store for us? We are all meant to be used by God. Just trust. You may be surprised.