Looking forward, glancing back

It’s been a tough week that’s had its moments of joy and thanksgiving, but it’s also pock-marked with the type of challenges that chip away at us all.  Those moments that try to tell us that we’re not good-enough, that we’re as bad off as we’ve always been and even that we suck at life.  Those whispers are so convincing in those moments that it seems like a valid argument to cash in our chips.

I’m thankful for the 365-day reading plan in my Bible as it takes me through books that I might otherwise take for granted.  It’s given me a richer perspective and a deeper understanding that those whispers I hear, are echoes that date back to the beginning of our story.

Exodus 16: 1-3 “The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

The escape from Egypt was one that everyone was ready for, and one that God had prepared us for.  Our ancestors had gone from being free, and from abundance to living under an oppressive ruler who wanted to keep power for he and his family.  Pharaoh limited their ability to own land, possessions and worship in exchange for meeting their daily quotas and doing all the work that glorified him.  It’s amazing to me how quickly their joy of being freed turned into grumbling, and even to questioning whether they should surrender themselves to Pharaoh and go back to a life of slavery.  They wanted to give up.  Thankfully for us, they didn’t.

It’s also amazing to me how quickly I start grumbling and think about turning myself back over to slavery.  To something that looks to consume me and my family.  Giving myself over to sin, to my old patterns of life is me taking a measure of control and telling God that He doesn’t know what He’s doing.  Telling the Creator of the universe and of everything in it that I have the answers, and I’d rather die with a full-stomach than endure any discomfort.

John 10:10  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Early in my recovery, and early in my walk with Jesus, this passage was meaningful but didn’t impact me the way it does now.  Early on I handed myself over willingly to a God that loves me unquestioningly, forgives me always and has plans for me beyond my comprehension.  I didn’t know the depths to which He’d go to have me back, and didn’t know how ferociously He defends us.  We’ve all been the lost sheep at one time or another, pursued by a loving Father ready to celebrate us joining the other 99.The simplicity of the passage and it’s impact continues to resonate with me.  It reminds me that I have a choice.  I can freely choose to hand myself over to something that actively wants me to fail and that wants the destruction of both me and my family; or I can turn myself over to a Father who wants me to have everything life has to offer.  It came at a price, and it means that all I have to do is turn my life and care over to a power greater than myself, give myself freely to God.  Trust that He can hold me, has plans for me and can sustain me in all seasons.  I don’t have to wash myself clean, I don’t have to have it all figured out and I don’t have to be perfect.  It was in my brokenness that God found me, after rigorously pursuing me for years.

It does me a world of good to remember how dark those times were.  How empty they were.  How devastating they were.  But I won’t be held under that yoke of guilt and shame, tied to slavery.  It’s important to me that I have those reminders, and also vital that I lean on others in those times.  I need people I trust, and who know my story who can help guide me through my wandering in the desert.  Voices of reason that can be louder than the whispers of destruction.  It’s easy in those moments when I’m under attack to think about my comfort, it leads me to numb out and forget about the ways God is blessing me, blessing my family and blessing so many around me.  I have a choice, we all have a choice that we’re equipped to make, so what’s yours?


Grace, peace and love

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