Fly above your circumstances

I was at the filling station when a man I knew pulled up in the next lane and greeted me. I asked how he was and he said, “We’re struggling,” but he said it jovially so it could really have meant anything. I thought that if it goes too well with us we won’t stay on our knees. If we don’t lack anything we really won’t need God.

Then I thought about Moses who grew up in the courts of Pharaoh. He had every resource at his fingertips. He had servants at his beck and call and he definitely never had to wonder where his next meal would come from. The princess who adopted him was the daughter of the Pharaoh. So his adoptive grandfather ruled one of the mightiest kingdoms in the world. I think I can say with certainty that Moses didn’t have a disadvantaged upbringing. The Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave and he had to flee for his life when he was found out. He stayed in the land of Midian for a few years until God called him back to Egypt to free the Hebrews from bondage.

Now what if Moses hadn’t killed the Egyptian and had stayed in Pharaoh’s palace and led a life of luxury? He might have. He would have had a nice life. But when he died he would have missed out of heaven.

How often don’t we think that if we had a better life we would be happy. We won’t have to worry about money and be stressed about where the money will come from that we need. Obviously everyone’s needs are different and wealth is relative. But we all think that way at one or other time.  Why do I have to struggle while my neighbor has it easy? Why can some people go on long holidays and I always have to count the cents. Why?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know that God uses the situations that we are in to work in our hearts. If we live a life of luxury it might be too easy to forget all about God. If we never got sick we could take it for granted that we are healthy and not look to God to live in divine health. If our children were perfect we might think that we are perfect parents and we wouldn’t pray for them. If our businesses were just churning our cash we wouldn’t have to be on our knees. What if our lives were perfect and we had lots and lots of money and we were healthy and our kids were amazing? What if it was like that but what if we didn’t know God? But what if our lives are like they are and we do know God and we think it’s not fair that God’s children would be in the situation we are.

David was God’s anointed. The Bible doesn’t leave us guessing about that. He was physically anointed by Samuel and God even called him a man after His own heart.  (1 Sam 13:14 and Acts 13:22). In Psalm 18:6 David says In my distress I called upon the Lord.

Psalm 13:1 – 2 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Psalm 69:1 – 3 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Psalm 140:1 – 3 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men, preserve me from violent men, who plan violent things in their hearts; They continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps is under their lips.

Jeremiah was a prophet of God and he complained to God. Just look at Jeremiah 12:1 – 2 Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; They grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth but far from the mind.

Jeremiah did not have an easy life at all. He was imprisoned and beaten and taken captive. Yet, he was chosen by God to speak to the people. Jeremiah certainly did not live a charmed life, but he knew God and that is worth far more than all the wealth in the world.

Next time I want to complain I’ll think about Moses, David and Jeremiah and instead of being miserable about what I’m going through I’ll look up, spread my wings and choose to fly above the circumstances.

No longer a slave to fear.

I was listening to the song, ”I’m no longer a slave to fear”, (written by Jonathan David Helser) – – and one line particularly struck me. The words are, “You split the sea, so I could walk right through it.” They sort of just jumped right out at me. When Moses and the Israelites were camped on the beach of the Red Sea, the Egyptian armies were closing in on them. Genesis 14:9 – 10, “So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon. And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.” Verse 13-14, “And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Then the Angel of God (in the form of a pillar of cloud) went between the Egyptians and the Israelites and caused darkness on the Egyptians and light on the Israelites. This is so amazing. God’s attention to detail is magnificent. The Egyptian army is in darkness while Israel has light. Moss stretched out his hand and the sea moved back. A strong east wind caused the water to part into walls with dry land in between. The children of Israel crossed over the sea without wetting their feet. The Egyptians then followed and while they were in the middle of the sea God made the chariot wheels fall off. And God told Moses to stretch out his hand again on the other side of the sea. The waters returned to normal and the entire Egyptian army was wiped out. The Israelites even saw the dead bodies of Egyptians who had washed up on the shore.

Let’s think a bit about what happened here. The Israelites were being pursued by a mighty army and they had no means of defending themselves. They called out to God and then complained and doubted that God would help them. In spite of this, God performed and awesome miracle. The first thing that strikes me is that even though they doubted that they would be saved, God came through for them. All they had to do was go forward. That’s it! Moses had to stretch out his arm and the rest of the people had to go forward. God even said they should be still and He would fight for them. How easy is it to be still and trust God when there is great danger around you? It’s hard enough to trust God when your turmoil is internal! And the way God put the enemy in the dark and put His people in the light is just stunning. Then they go through the sea and once they are on the opposite shore He destroys the enemy. Just like that!

If God could do it for the Israelites all those years ago, will He be able to do it for us today? They were God’s chosen people. We are much more than that. We are His children if we have accepted Jesus as our savior.  John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” We can expect God to help us out of trouble. Just like a child can expect a parent to help his out of trouble. And God didn’t just help them out of trouble, He helped them onto the next leg of their journey and then He destroyed the enemy that was coming up against them. What kind of problems and trouble can God fix? Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” The answer is clear. God can do anything. Nothing is too difficult for Him.  2 Corinthians 5:7,  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” It is so easy to be blinded by our circumstances. The Israelites saw the Egyptian army coming and they saw the sea in front of them. They didn’t see God’s plan. Fear was threatening to overwhelm them. God doesn’t give us the details of His plans to get us out of trouble before we are actually in the situation. Because we don’t know His plans we assume there aren’t any plans and we try to make our own plans, which either don’t work or just put us into more trouble.

God always has a plan, that’s all we need to remember. He will split the sea so we can walk right through it. We must no longer be slaves of fear because we are children of God.