March 3, 2017
Since God made me realize the start of something new makes us vulnerable to temptation and I happen to be at the start of this ministry I’ve been trying to look ahead to how I’ll feel in about 40 days. I’m having a hard time accomplishing it because I’m receiving so many blessings right now. But then I started thinking about the Hebrew people in the wilderness. I imagine they were feeling pretty good about life in the beginning, too. God had just delivered them out of bondage, defeated Pharaoh’s army, was leading them to the Promised Land, and providing manna from Heaven each day. For all that, they begin to pine for their old way of life. And I can see why they might.
Seems to me the less grounded one is in the familiar and the more time spent in the unfamiliar one is going to long for something solid in their life. Since, the familiar was behind them, longing for those things seems logical for the Hebrew people to want when trying to get on firmer ground. We know how to navigate the familiar. We know where to go to get food, we know what time we have to be at work, and we know who wakes up grumpy and we know to steer clear of them until they’re fully awake. We have all of these markers to guide us. Not so when we decide to step out in faith.
Stepping out in faith seems akin to trying to walk on water: incredibly insubstantial. It’s based on a promise. A promise that is as good as gold, but without the necessary faith we can quickly find ourselves in over our heads as I did when I jumped in with both feet. It bears remembering that is was not Lord Jesus who asked that of Peter, but Peter who asked that of Him. When God brought the Hebrew people our of Egypt He parted the sea, so they could walk on firm ground. Then He led them through the desert.
The desert is very similar to the ocean in that the sands, like water, shift underneath your feet, and without landmarks, there’s just endless rolling dunes , so, like the ocean, you still need to look to the heavens for guidance. Much like the wise men following the star to Bethlehem. But it’s different from the ocean in that there is ground beneath your feet, even if a little less firm than you’re used to, which makes for hard going, but it’s not an entirely different substance and, unless there is quicksand about, you don’t have to worry that with each step you may end up over your head.
It’s like going to visit a relative who lives in a town you’ve never been before. You don’t know the streets or landmarks and you don’t know how long it will take to get there, but you do know how to drive, and you do know towns, you have direction, and you know the destination. By good direction, faith in the one giving it, the humility to follow it, the resolution to stay the distance, and not losing sight of it all you can get there.
I think that is a much better analogy for a ministry. When the Hebrews left Israel they took all of their substance: their goods, knowledge, skills they had acquired in Egypt, and faith in God. They did not leave empty. What they had to learn in the wilderness was how to trust God, to follow His direction, and to put that substance in the service of God. Where they were lacking God provided.
And I do have God giving me direction, I do have some skills and, what I lack, Lord Jesus is teaching me, and I know the destination: working with Lord Jesus, (I cannot do this type of magazine on my own), on a magazine about God which will allow me to live the life I’ve longed for. For we do long for God in our daily lives. We do long for a closer relationship with Lord Jesus here on earth.
All of this makes me wonder: Is this what the promised land looks like? Is this what God meant for the Hebrew people when He led them out of Egypt? Not only to remove them from a life of bondage; a life spent in service building up someone eles’s kingdom, a someone who has no interest in your well-being, but only what you can do for them: for that is what slavery is. A kingdom that expects more and more of you, while giving less and less back. Whereas, God supplies you with what you need before you even know you need it. And God doesn’t use us and discard us. It’s not a master/slave relationship, but a marriage of God and us. And God bringing us to a place where that marriage can happen. Where we can live that life with God that in our heart of hearts we’ve always wanted.I hadn’t realized that a ministry would be such an enlightening spiritual journey. For this alone I would recommend anyone start one when God calls them to it.