Life gets hard at times! And I’ll be the first to tell you, it can suck! Even when you feel you are doing everything right. Even when you feel that you are living for Jesus! Even when you are tithing and serving and praying and reading your Bible. Life and the circumstances in our life, can get hard.
I remember a time when I just wasn’t very content at work. My relationships with co-workers weren’t what they used to be and I didn’t feel like I was valued. I was very unhappy. I was praying, reading my Bible, doing all the things that I was supposed to do as a Christian. But, there wasn’t instant relief! God didn’t swoop down and answer my prayer right away. It took time, longer than I would have liked. There were times when I questioned and even asked if God was listening. I knew better! Because, I know He is always listening. He is always there. But sometimes, it’s not about YOU!
If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you know what I mean. You’re in a place, you need God’s hand to work in your favor or you need Him to answer a prayer or you need to just FEEL the Spirit, somehow, someway…and nothing. Or worse, your situation, with all your “pressing into the Lord” got harder! Come on….you’ve been there! We’ve all been there! And it sucks when you’re going through it! But you’re not alone.
Imagine what it was like for the Israelites in Egypt. They lived as slaves for hundreds of years. They cried out to God and then finally….God moved!
7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. 8 I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 9 The Israelites’ cry for help has come to Me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10 (HCSB)
Oh man! An answer to prayer! The people cried out and God was coming through for them. He was sending Moses, raised in Pharaoh’s household. Who better to know the inner workings of how things got done in Egypt?
So Moses and Aaron show up on Pharaoh’s door with a decree from the Lord to “Let my people go.” This is easy. This is God’s Word. He said it, so let’s pack up our bags and head out to this special land flowing with milk and honey…. Yeah, not so fast. Things actually took a turn for the worse!
19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You cannot reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who stood waiting to meet them.
21 “May the Lord take note of you and judge,” they said to them, “because you have made us reek in front of Pharaoh and his officials—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!” Exodus 5:19-21 (HCSB)
Wait! What? Not only did Pharaoh not “Let my people go,” the people turned on Moses and Aaron! “This isn’t right! This isn’t the way it is supposed to happen. With God on our side, things should get better, not worse!” Again, we’ve all been there.
This must have also been Moses’ thoughts. He couldn’t believe this bad turn of events. So he goes back to the Lord… to inquire. Maybe he missed something. Maybe he messed up the “formula” or something.
22 So Moses went back to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why have You caused trouble for this people? And why did You ever send me? 23 Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in Your name he has caused trouble for this people, and You haven’t delivered Your people at all.”
6 1 But the Lord replied to Moses, “Now you are going to see what I will do to Pharaoh: he will let them go because of My strong hand; he will drive them out of his land because of My strong hand.”
2 Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am Yahweh. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I did not reveal My name Yahweh to them. 4 I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as foreigners. 5 Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered My covenant.
6 “Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am Yahweh.” Exodus 5:22 6:8 (HCSB)
Did you get that? Moses even began to question his call and purpose. Things would have been so much better back in Midian…a life of ease tending the flock…”at lest the sheep like me,” he must of thought!
But Moses learned something very powerful here. It’s not about him! It’s not about the people of Israel! It’s about Yahweh!
4 Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put My hand on Egypt and bring the divisions of My people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out My hand against Egypt, and bring out the Israelites from among them.” Exodus 7:4-5 (HCSB)
Did you get that? “The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.” Not you Moses, not Aaron. This didn’t happen because Pharaoh became a nice guy or had a change of heart. This was going to happen because of God! And God wanted everyone to know that God is God!
Later, God would write, “I am a jealous God.” He wants the glory!
Sometimes the things that happen in my life, your life, the life of the children of Israel is so that God receives the glory!
Jesus shares this same thought in John 9, “As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. 4 We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When things weren’t going well for me, it wasn’t about me. When things have been bad for you and you questioned where was God in all of it, it wasn’t about you. It was about God. It was about God working in you so that He could receive glory!
Will you let God receive glory from your life? Even if it doesn’t seem all good to you?
1. God will never give you more than you can bear! Yes, it will be hard and it will be uncomfortable, but never more than you can take. You have that promise – 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. (HCSB)
2. Don’t give up, it’s only for season! When we are in the midst of the storm, it might seem like forever. However, you need to remember that your situation is only for a season. Maybe a loooonnng season, but it’s not forever! Surround yourself with God’s presence, continue to walk in the Holy Spirit. Read, pray, attend church. Don’t take yourself away from the presence of God!
3. Share your testimony. Share what God is doing in you. In John 9, Jesus said that “we must do the work” and “I am the light of the world.” People who are going through a rough patch are strengthened and filled with faith when you share what God has done and God is doing in your life. On the other side of your rough patch, share it!
4. Remember that you have already received the victory! Everything in this life is meaningless compared to knowing Jesus! Even if you were to lose your life here on Earth, you go to Heaven! So basically, you are already living in eternity! You’ll pass from life to life!
Because we walk in an awareness of the craziness that is our world, we might “see” hardship and suffering coming more easily than our non-prepared brothers and sisters. Since we know that this time is coming, we can be even more prepared spiritually to “shine our light” for Him.
The coming (fill-in-the-blank), could be the greatest time in our history to spread the Gospel message. Are you prepared? Are you ready?