By Beth Patch
Four hundred years - that's roughly how long the Israelites cried out to God for freedom from their oppressive Egyptian rulers. When the long awaited time came and God used Moses and Aaron to demand the release of His children from Pharoah's grip, this generation of Abraham's descendants witnessed God's great power moreso than any previous people. They saw plague after plague brought upon their captors, but not them. The Israelites marked their homes with the blood of a lamb and God's angel spared their firstborn children and animals, but not the Egyptians'. God parted the Red Sea to allow them safe passage and had the Sea close up over those who chased them.
Now, there's a group of people who we would expect to be on fire for God for the rest of their lives. God showed His love for them in the most mighty ways!
But, what did they do? The Israelites made it clear that they would rather die in Egypt (in slavery), than remain in the wilderness of their escape. (Exodus 14: 11–12) Essentiallly, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that God was going to continue to guide, provide for and protect them. He had it all under control and had done great and mighty things for them. But, when the people went for several days without water and came upon water that was too bitter to drink, they felt deserted and like they needed to condemn Moses for leading them into difficulty that would certainly kill them. God told Moses to throw a stick into the water and it became drinkable (Exodus 15: 22-25). Then the people were happy again and full of faith.
Sound like some folks with very little faith? Sound like you and me sometimes? Oh, how wonderful it would be if we truly had childlike faith, the kind that doesn't waiver. No wonder Jesus used the faith of a child as an example (Matt 11:25).
As little children, we believe in the impossible, we believe in things that we can’t always see. We trust our parents. We don’t reason our way out of believing that they love us. It’s only after life experiences build up in our memory, that our minds develop the spiritually neutering condition called doubt.
So, how do we overcome doubt? How do we acquire childlike faith and keep it?
God’s Holy Word says, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NLT) Christ said it was the most important commandment. (Mark 12: 29-30) This degree of loving God must be the first key to overcoming doubt. If we truly love God, will we doubt Him?
Perhaps our doubt stems from our realization that God doesn’t see and do things the way we do. We can’t understand why God would allow his faithful followers in Eritrea (and elsewhere) to suffer torture, imprisonment and death for their belief in Him. He’s almighty God! Why doesn’t He rescue these people? Why doesn’t He show His mighty power to the oppressors and break them free? Why does He allow His children to suffer hardship? We’re children of the King! Why doesn’t He keep the bank from foreclosing on our house?
When we start asking these kinds of questions about God, we have entered the realm of human logic and reasoning – a large contributor to doubt and a constant drain on the love relationship that we’re supposed to give all our heart, soul and strength.
Isaiah 55:8 says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. (NLT)
In contrast to the logic and reasoning of the worldy wise, a child’s perception is that they are OK as long as Mommy or Daddy is there. That’s all that’s important – not being separated and alone. And God has promised He will always be with His children (Deut 31:6).
We must remember that it is not this life on this earth that we live for. Our time here is brief compared to eternity. Whatever we accomplish here and whatever we suffer here, as long as we have our strong love relationship with our Lord, we will be OK.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33, NLT)
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that we have yesterday, today, tomorrow and eternity with you. Thank you that you love us despite our fickle hearts. Please teach us to love you like little children, trusting you in all things and with each moment.
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