Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The In-Betweens

This morning during my quiet time I was thinking about some of my favorite Bible characters and the obstacles they overcame. Of course, it's the fact that they overcame that makes them heroes of our faith. I was trying to think if I could find some distant way to identify with any one of them. But I'm not sure anyone was a caregiver or could relate to our world today in that way. David took care of Jonathan's son Mephibosheth who was crippled, but other than that I pretty much came up empty.

But as my mind was strolling through some of the great OT stories, it landed on Moses; and that's where I settled. We know at God's word he charged in and faced an obstinate king only to find out that God's chosen people were just as obstinate. Moses really had his hands full trying to provide for a nation of people. There was a lot happening between Exodus chapter 3 and chapter 19.

In chapter 3, Moses is standing on the mount and God tells him that he'd return to that spot to worship Him. And just as God promised, in chapter 19 - Moses has returned with the nation of Israel with him. how amazing is that? But -- it's the in between that Moses had to endure that I want to focus on.

Before Moses gets back to that worship site, he faced Pharaoh and went through the 10 plagues. THEN once they got out of Egypt, they ran smack dab into the Red Sea. For me - I'd have fallen apart right there and thought I must have missed God. But not Moses - he asked God what to do (that's a novel idea) and then they went across on dry land and Pharaoh's army was drowned. That's when the celebration started and in chapter 15 we get a glimpse of their song of victory as their enemies were washed away.

But it's  not over yet.

Just a short trek from the Red Sea - they run out of water! The water they found was bitter - I can relate to that as sometimes everything (even good things) can have a bitter taste. God provides fresh water and then what? The natives are restless and start fussing about their food source. No problem though, right? God rains down manna on them every day for them to eat. But that's not good enough for these grumpy people - they want meat. And Moses gets an ear full again! No problem - God drives quail by the dozens into the camp so they can satisfy their longing for meat.

Everything is nice and comfy in the wilderness now and they enjoy a beautiful Sabbath celebration. Until.....they ran out of water again in chapter 17. Moses prayed once again and God provided.Then in chapter 18 we see how Moses is burdened by trying to keep peace in the camp. He was working daylight to dark quite literally trying to solve problems. I'm pretty sure this was not a peaceful trip for this fearless leader.

But finally in chapter 19 Moses gets to stand on the mountain once again and rejoice in God's promises. It seems it wasn't the promises that Moses had to worry about - but the in-between that gave him fits.

As caregivers just one day can feel like this kind of emotional roller coaster ride - and sometimes it's hour by hour. We are up and in have it all together mode and some little something sends us down the deep dark tunnel of depression. It's okay - we'll be back up in a few minutes only to plummet down again... it can be a vicious cycle. The mountain tops are great - but there can be a lot in between.

It's those struggles in between where our faith is tested, refined and defined. In those times the glory of the mountain top can fade. We just have to remember that it will return. Sometimes it's as easy as finding a quiet place and choosing to worship - other times life chips away at every bit of sanity we have left. During those times - we learn to wait on Him. And that's actually powerful stuff. It's the waiting during the in-betweens that builds our strength, tests our courage (and patience I might add). Faith is fertilized in the field of waiting....and materializes on the mountain top as we commune with Him in worship.

We cannot do away with either - the mountain or the wilderness. They both play a role in defining our relationship with God and strengthening it too.

Today, I want to think about how both the mountain and the wilderness can yield way to worship. I'll meditate on how God does not change during the in-betweens. He remains faithful and constant no matter if we are looking to Him to provide our basic daily needs or worshiping Him on the mountain tops of life. And while I wait for Him - I'll praise and thank Him for always being with me - in all the in-between spots of life. And I'll rest in that thought. Will you join me?












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