So you think you heard God give you a promise of deliverance from whatever it is you’re going through, but things just continue to get worse…
It leaves you wondering, doesn’t it? “Did I really hear God’s voice? Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe God doesn’t speak to me. Maybe He doesn’t give me promises. Maybe God doesn’t keep His promises. Maybe He doesn’t care about me at all…”
What happens when people comes along and confirm that promise? Or when your Bible reading of the day just so happens to be a word of encouragement? Do you believe them? Or do you just write it off as yet another sign that God doesn’t speak to you or doesn’t keep His promises because the deliverance hasn’t happened?
The Children of Israel were in the same situation. They were slaves in Egypt when this man, Moses, came along, showed them a few signs and wonders and claimed that God had promised to deliver them and take them back to Canaan (SeeEx. 4:29-30). Yet their bondage didn’t end. Instead, it got worse:“That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: ‘Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota…Load them down with more work. Make them sweat!'” (Ex. 5:6-9 NLT)
Is it any wonder that when Moses came along with yet more encouragement and promises from God (“I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt…I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!'” Ex. 6:6-8 NLT), the people refuse to listen? “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore.” (Ex. 6:9a NLT).
The Bible doesn’t drop the story here, however. It goes on to tell why the people refused to listen to God’s continued encouragement: “They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” (Ex. 6:9b NLT). The people refused to even hear God’s words of encouragement because the harshness of their circumstances had discouraged them.
Herein lies the reason why we, as well, sometimes don’t even see God at work while we await the fulfillment of His promise of deliverance. When that promise isn’t immediately fulfilled, we can usually convince ourselves that we must simply wait; but when the circumstances then proceed to get worse, it doesn’t matter how much continued encouragement God sends us, we are often too discouraged to hear it. The waves of problems strike us squarely in the eye, and we become blinded to anything other than the brutality of the trials.
So what should we do?
The book of Hebrews gives us the answer: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Heb. 12:1-2 NLT).
We know that Israel’s unbelief did not keep them from receiving the promise. They were, indeed, brought out of Egypt; they did, indeed, return to their native land. Yet how much more pleasant that deliverance and journey would have been if they had put off the doubt and discouragement and put their trust in God, despite the severity of the circumstances.
God’s promise to you today is also binding, even when your circumstances appear to get worse. Your “Egypt experience” will end in glory, so instead of focusing on the circumstances, try these simple steps:
1. Keep your eyes on Jesus;
2. Follow His example by focusing on the joy of the deliverance;
3. Put off the doubt;
4. Fight against the discouragement;
5. Receive the encouragement God sends along the way; and above all,
6. Fix your eyes on Him and Him alone.
When you do, you will find that the journey towards your deliverance isn’t so stressful after all…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.