Numbers 11:21-23 (NKJV)
21 And Moses said, “The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”
23 And the LORD said to Moses, “Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.”
A few days ago Sonja and I were both in the bathroom brushing our teeth, getting ready to head out for an appointment. I finished before her and turned to leave. Out of habit I turned the light out as I exited the room and was almost in the hall before it dawned on me what I had done. I had to turn around and go back and cut the light back on for Sonja.
As I was doing so it occurred to me that my dad would have been so proud of me; not that I turned the light off on Sonja, but that I had so engrained the practice of turning the lights off that it had become a habit.
Growing up my dad had to stay on me repeatedly about walking out of a room or the house and leaving lights on. It’s amazing how paying for the household bills yourself has a way of making clearer your parents admonishment to be frugal!
But here’s the deal, in today’s bible verses Moses is struggling with the fact that God had promised to provide meat for the entire
nation of Israel (while living in the desert no less!). How would you feel about that? Moses had done the math. There were 600,000 men alone! This does not include the women, children and strangers that were tagging along for the adventure.
In spite of the fact that Moses had experienced the burning bush, climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai and received the Ten Commandments and experienced numerous other spectacular encounters with God he still doubted. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel better that Moses struggled with this matter.
Why? Because there are times that I struggle with the promises of God. I know I shouldn’t but I do; and I bet you do also. But bear in mind that even though Moses had witnessed a lot of amazing things since he started his journey with God, it wasn’t that many years before the event in today’s bible lesson that Moses didn’t even know God existed! (Exodus 3:13)
Just like my ingrained habit of turning out the lights when leaving a room, Moses’ habit of trusting God didn’t happen overnight. Maturity is a process, it takes time. Maybe today you are struggling with some of the promises of God. You don’t like admitting it, but you doubt God. Is that good? No, but it happens and God understands and even sets you up for it. That is why you are going through a situation that causes you to doubt – it is God’s way of helping you to grow and mature.
Along this journey of life you will probably always struggle with doubt; but what you will discover is that you will be struggling with new issues. Just like turning off the lights…if I was still struggling with that issue there would be serious questions as to
my maturity level; but thankfully that is not the case. Am I a perfect husband? Of course not, but I have matured and the things I used to struggle with have been conquered and I have moved on.
In the same way, your doubts do not have to be signs of your immaturity or lack of faith, but rather your growth toward a deeper maturity. If you are struggling with things you’ve never faced before…cheer up! It means you’ve grown to a new level, and at every new level of challenge there is waiting on the other side a new level of opportunity and growth.
So be strong and be of good courage, those are just “growing pains” you are experiencing.
- “Patience is not a tense waiting for others to come around to our agenda but a willingness to allow God to work in God’s way and in God’s time to bring everyone, ourselves included, to God’s agenda for the situation.” _M. Robert Mulholland Jr., The Deeper Journey
- “Adversity introduces a man to himself” _Anonymous
- “Your headache feels great to a druggist.”
- “On my travels overseas I have noticed a striking difference in the wording of prayers. Christians in affluent countries tend to pray, ‘Lord, take this trial away from us!’ I have heard prisoners, persecuted Christians, and some who live in very poor countries pray instead, ‘Lord, give us the strength to bear this trial.’” _Phillip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God