4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Seac]”>[c] to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, 5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.8 Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!”9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
Dear God, 16 year and one week ago I left a stable job for the unknown. It was a scary decision, but one I felt literally called by you to make. It started a long hard process and nearly three years of unstable employment and money flow, fear in how I would earn a living, damage to my self-confidence, and strain on my family and my marriage. My wife and I have often said that if we had known how hard the next three years would be we wouldn’t have done it. I am convinced that’s why you keep us ignorant about the future. I came up with a line at the time, “God keeps me on a need-to-know basis, and I very rarely need to know.” I also came up with the line, “There’s a fine line between living by faith and living in denial.”
I think the same can be said of the Israelites. If they had know what was in front of them they might never have left Egypt. But you used those trials to make them stronger and to build their faith, just like you used those trials in 2003-2005 to make me stronger in you and build my faith.
One of the hard things as a parent is to allow your child to struggle through a trial. I remember talking to my dad after all of the unemployments were over and he told me, “You have no idea how hard it was to not just send you money sometimes.” I got that and I appreciate that he didn’t short circuit the lessons you were trying to teach me. Now, as a father of children who are out of the home, it is my turn to find that line between allowing my children to work out their own challenges so that they can grow as adults and in you, and when they need their dad to step in.
Father, thank you that you very rarely let me in on what the future holds. Thank you that you allow us to struggle. Thank you that you do everything just the way you do it. There are times it frustrates me, I must confess, but I can almost always see, in retrospect, what you were doing, and that what you were doing was good.
In Jesus’ name I pray,