4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea 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! (Num 21:4-9) NLT
Sometimes the word of God can cause me to flinch and think “ouch”! I am a firm believer in the Lord but I have to admit there are times I question where he is taking me. Right now, in fact, there is a promise God gave me over 20 years ago that has still not come to pass. I’ve questioned him, gotten angry, doubted him, and probably thrown a tantrum or two over the years. Much like the Israelites, I’ve complained in the face of observable blessings. It has taken me quite a few years to come to the realization that when the time comes that promise will be fulfilled, and not until. He has corrected and disciplined me when I needed it as well. Those lessons have helped me grow up in so many ways.
Now, I don’t have a bronze snake to remind me of his goodness and his healing, but I do have so many instances where God has been faithful and abundant in his grace. I have journals of stories I can pull out at any given time as a reminder for me to see the path we’ve taken together. Never once in all those years has he ever deserted me. In fact, I’ve been able to find him in situations in my life that happened before I became a Christ follower. Knowing he was there has been the answer to putting some painful situations to rest and finding peace.
4 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (Jas 4:1-3) NLT
Pride is buried in me and it rears its ugly head all too frequently. Sometimes I don’t even realize that is what is at the root of my feelings. God has had to show me. It is a part of my flesh that I have to take before the Lord in repentance. It really gets in the way of loving others as Jesus did. Even then, at my worst, he has been faithful.
O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
2 From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
3 for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings! (Ps 61:1-4) NLT
On my best days and on my worst, he is my security. I can be me with him. He comforts me when I’m sad, holds me close when I’m afraid, and he shows up in ways that delight me. I have never had a friend I could depend on more than him.
Lord—you are everything to me! I cannot imagine living one moment without you. There are times I forget to call on you and I rely too heavily on myself. That’s usually when I need you the most. I thank you for being my refuge, my fortress, and my sanctuary. You are my source of wisdom and direction. If you do not fill me, I have nothing to give. I pray for a soft and loving heart, filled with compassion for others. In Jesus name, Amen