No-one is immune to heartache and pain and we all carry the scent of smoke on our clothes sometimes. Passing through the fire is a rite of passage and we all come to the realization that there’s a road through the “valley of the shadow of death” that we walk alone…a road littered with burning coals and broken glass, where we walk barefoot. It’s in these times that we do not fear, that we retrace our steps and we look at all the times the Lord had carried us through, which is exactly what I am doing for myself…I am encouraging myself in the Lord.
In my search, I found something I wrote some years ago…
“In the book of Exodus, chapter 1, we read the story of a difficult situation the Israelites are in. They have grown into a mighty nation and the Pharaoh had become afraid that they would overpower the Egyptians. It tells of the slavery they found themselves in and of a plan to kill the sons of promise, by killing all the baby boys born to the Israelites. God promised Abraham a mighty nation as his inheritance and Pharaoh was trying to stop God’s plan from coming to pass.
In Chapter 2 we are told the story of the birth of Moses, how his life was saved and how he was raised in the courts of Pharaoh, the enemy of his people. When he becomes aware of the injustice against the Israelites, we see how Moses tries to help his people, by taking matters into his own hands. He kills an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite, thinking that no-one saw, but when it becomes apparent that he was seen, he flees Egypt. Later we will see that he lived in the desert for forty years, tending his father-in-law’s sheep, before he is revealed as the redeemer of his people.
Let’s read verses 23 to 25 from chapter 2 in the Message version. “Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God: God listened to their groanings. God remembered his covenant with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw what was going on with Israel. God understood.
God knew and He was not caught by surprise. He was already at work, preparing for their release. He had a man ready to lead them out of Egypt, only the man himself still had no idea that he was the one. Father God had planned everything at the beginning of time – a redeemer for the Israelites, one that would lead them to the safety of the land promised to them. God knew that his chosen people would find themselves in trouble, and he had intervened to save the life of Moses. God had also sent him into the desert to prepare him for the task ahead. Now all that was necessary was a meeting between God and Moses – a revelation of the call and ministry prepared in advance.
In the same way, we find ourselves enslaved or oppressed by our enemy. We are slaves to addiction, to religion, to heartache, grief and self-pity, to name a few. We have an enemy who recognizes that we have the potential to be great – and the potential to be a great threat. We have an enemy that will stop at nothing to kill us and destroy our inheritance. Our enemy does not play fair and everyone is a target.
But God, in His almighty gracious and merciful way, have also prepared for us a Redeemer. When we call out to God, He hears our groanings, He remembers his covenant with us, He sees what is going on in our lives and He understands. Psalm 103:14 reads “For He knows how weak we are, He remembers that we are only dust”.
We have a Redeemer, who was tempted in the desert for 40 days, like we are tempted, and came out victorious, in the power of the Holy Spirit. A Son was given to us who is more than able to do what He was called to do – heal the sick, raise the dead and set the captives free. We have a Savior available to us that would lead us through the desert we call home now, all the way to the heavenly kingdom promised to those who overcome. He had gone before us and have prepared a way for us. We have been set free from our captor and been given authority over everything in heaven and on earth, we never have to pass through death, we can walk straight into our eternal inheritance – all we have to do is follow Jesus.
If you find yourself in a desert today, where you feel dry and alone, look around for a burning bush. God is waiting to meet with you, He longs to spend time with you. He is waiting to show your great and marvelous things, waiting to reveal your call and destiny to you, so that you can also labor with Jesus. He is waiting for you to call out to Him, He remembers His promises to you and through Jesus He has made a way for you to come home. We have a home prepared for us and God is also waiting, He remembers you.
Everything around you might be telling you that He has forgotten you; that He does not see your pain and that He does not care about your troubles. None of that is true. God is not a man, that He should lie and in Jesus every promise made in the Word of God is yes, and amen. When He promises never to leave us, nor to forsake us, He does not lie. In Isaiah 49 verse 15 and 16 we read “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Go on, go talk to Him, He wants to hear all about it.”
God, You are my God! Thank you that You hear and that You remember me. Help me to remember You in my time of trouble.