If you’ve been on the blog lately, you have not been overwhelmed by the quantity of my posts. That is entirely due to my work load of late. I am working full time in guest services at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, teaching part time at Veritas Academy, and preaching part time at Islands Christian Church here in Savannah. With my current schedule there are periods where I won’t see my little Benjamin for two days in a row. Fortunately Lindsey keeps me in the know and sends pictures/videos of the little guy.
I wrote a post a while back called Waiting While Moving Forward that has to do with the season of waiting we are in as it relates to the history of God’s people–including, but not limited to, folks like Abraham and the disciples. I preached this past weekend on the same idea and wanted to share the two lessons my family is learning along the way.
(I preached from the context of Israel’s exodus out of Egypt, and their journey through the wilderness in particular).
Lesson 1. God has already prepared the place, but he has to prepare the people. For Israel, God had already prepared the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a place where Israel could fully become what God desired for his people to be. But each and every time Israel encountered an obstacle, rather than move forward, they stopped and grumbled.
Upon reaching the Red Sea, for instance, the people of God did not believe in the power of God to make a way where there seemed to be now way. Instead, they asked Moses why he didn’t just leave them in Egypt where life was predictable. Grumble. When they wanted water and what they found was too bitter, they grumbled. God added some Splenda for them and then led them into an oasis to satisfy their desires. Grumble. Then came the manna. God literally rained bread (of some kind) for the people, but just enough so that–in my estimation–they wouldn’t become self-reliant. After a while, to no one’s surprise, grumble.
Had God led this generation directly into the Promised Land, what makes anyone think they wouldn’t have turned it into a wasteland with all their grumbling and complaining? You see, the place had already been prepared, for God had the destination set in stone. BUT, the people weren’t ready. And if the people are not ready for the place, then the place will cease to be what God had intended it to be. This is why, I believe, Lindsey and I are not yet where we’re supposed to be. We’re just not ready. And God loves us too much to let us enter into that place unprepared. And he loves you too much to let you enter a place for which you are not ready either (should you happen to be in a season of waiting).
Lesson 2:Waiting on God teaches us to name our idols. Israel’s waiting and wandering brought to the foreground their idols, that is, those things which hindered their faith and kept them from moving forward in obedience. What idols might be named on Israel’s behalf? In the Red Sea episode, I would name the idol of security. Although they were captives in Egypt, Israel was secure in knowing what to expect each day and had no idea what God might be calling them into if they’d just move forward. But that would take a risk. It would take courage (yes, it takes courage to leave what is familiar, comfortable, secure). God was guiding Israel by a pillar of cloud and fire, and yet they felt threatened…kind of funny.
What other idol(s) might be named? For time’s sake I’ll name one more. When Israel was whining about the quality of the water, I believe God exposed the idol of preference. I want it how I want it, when I want it. God may be providing for us right now in a moment of uncertainty or waiting, but because it’s not exactly what we want, we don’t see God’s hand involved. Sound familiar? No, surely not…you don’t mean? Yep, us. We are Israel.
When God challenges our security, our preferences, and I would add, our control, we look a lot like Israel walking around in the desert…grumbling.
God is teaching Lindsey and me to name our idols: financial security, control–the prayer of “give us this day our daily bread” actually means something to us now, ego–‘pastor’ is a much cooler title than ‘telephone operator’, and comfort–this can truly be an enemy of the Spirit’s movement in the life of a believer.
So those are lessons we are learning. If you have any questions or would like to add testimonies, please feel free to share. In the mean time, may we all be obedient to move forward in what we know rather than dwelling on what we don’t know. That’s the only way I know to keep waiting while moving forward.