Sunday, 23 January 2011

Picket Fence Ponderings

My little devotion book directed me to the end of Exodus 14 this morning.  The text was about how God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians by returning the waters of the Red Sea back to where they should have been, covering and drowning the Egyptian horseman pursuing the Israelites.  I was caught by one verse in the middle of the reading.

And when the Israelites saw the great power the
LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people 
feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses 
His servant.
(Exodus 14:31)

The thing that struck me about that verse was that it was only once the Israelites saw what God could do that they put their trust in Him.  It seems to me, this is not the first time the Israelites had seen God's power.  So this putting their trust in Him had to have been an often repeated act.  Something grasped with great enthusiasm in the moment and then slowly reliquished as life became ordinary again.

And then I wondered.  Do I let go of that trust in some way when life becomes ordinary, and then downright tough?  Do I have to rely on witnessing God's amazing power in some tangible way in order to maintain my trust in Him?  Surely that is quite a shallow kind of faith to have.

Over the last few years I have learned that when things are tough going, there is much comfort to be drawn from knowing that you are doing the work that God has set before you.  Without that knowledge there is, I find, a tendency to begin moaning and complaining about your lot.  You begin to become discontent with how things are and wish that someone (or God) would deliver you from the challenges you face.  Rather than relying on a magnificent display of God's power in your life, I find He tends to speak more quietly and I need to listen more carefully than the Israelites did that day.  

This year, the verse that will be tacked up on my fridge to remind me of why my days are full to overflowing and to bring me comfort when I wonder how I'm going to cope is this:

"Tell Archippus:  "See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.""
(Colosians 4:17)

Do you rely on only God's display of power, 
or do you seek His still small voice?

1 comment:

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I have to admit, sometimes I sit around waiting for the display of power when I should be seeking the still, small voice. Sigh. Thanks for the reminder, Tracy--a lovely piece!