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Growing Impatient With God

For my family, the past few years has been a wilderness experience. That phrase “wilderness experience” carries with it a lot of meaning. To me it does not just mean a time of lack or testing. I see it has an experience that has allowed me to focus on and see God’s guidance and provision in our lives. That is not to say that it has not been a struggle to walk through areas that appear dead but I have found an amazing sense of contentment and peace during the process. Things I would have seen as horrible I now see as a blessing.

Some days are harder than others and on those occasions I tend to momentarily shake my fist at God asking in a not-so-nice voice, “Why are we going through this?” What is different in this season of our lives is that this outburst of frustration is quickly followed by faithful declarations of our trust in His plan and our willingness to walk out the path laid before us. We only see the next portion of the plan but we know that God is good and wants nothing but to bless and prosper us so we keep walking. When the next step is visible, we take it. Is it sometimes scary or frustrating? YES!

Here is where I am going with this. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness in preparation and anticipation of the promise of a choice land that lacked nothing which God prepared for them. In this time, they constantly complained about it, even wishing to go back to Egypt and slavery. Numbers 21:4-9 tells the story of one such time.

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

A few things stand out to me.

First, is that they were only focusing no what they lacked (bread & water) instead of what they had.

Second, what God did provide them (manna) they did not appreciate and complained about it saying they “detest” it.

Third, they clung to the past instead of looking to the future with hope.

I think it is our natural tendency to follow in the footsteps of the Israelites and grow impatient with God when he does not deliver what we think he should and when we want it. I know I am guilty of it.

I have to ask myself, if I do focus on the things I have, bless God for what he has already provided and stand firm in the promise given, is it possible to not grow impatient but instead wait with confidence, expecting great things?  YES!

Preston Morrison taught a sermon this past week where he said “a test is an opportunity with the goal of success…The wilderness is merely a test and His sincerest hope is that you would succeed and past that test.”

Like the people in Numbers, God will let us re-take the test if we loose focus on the right things.

I’m grateful for His guidance in these times either through his written Word or by his speaking through others. Each time we get to that point where our fists begin to raise and doubts creep in, He sends someone to let us know He sees us and is making a path before us even if we can’t fully see it yet.

This is a song that I keep on my heart for days at a time.

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