Don't give up...
One of my favourite passages in the Bible comes from the Old Testament book of Numbers. In the 11th chapter, Moses was absolutely fed up. He had had it with the unbelief of those around him. The worst part was that God had assigned him to lead a pack of 2 million whiners, who witnessed miracle after miracle after astonishing miracle. And then they would whine about how lousy it was that they had to resort to a miracle to keep going, until another one was sent, only to complain about how bad it was that the effect of the last miracle was wearing out. Meanwhile they were being led by regular miracle--a pillar of cloud by day and a column of fire by night--and they were eating manna from heaven, delivered daily, at the same time, six days a week, with a double portion on Fridays (so they could rest on Saturday)--and they were complaining about the monotony of the miracle manna!
Finally Moses is fed up, and starts to whine too--though he whines to God about the whiners! Here it is in the Message translation:
The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat?
We ate fish in Egypt--and got it free!--to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks, and onions and garlic. But nothing tastes good here; all we get is manna, manna, manna..."
Moses heard all the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents.
God's anger blazed up...
Moses saw things were in a bad way...
Moses said to God, "Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, 'Give us meat; we want meat.' I can't do this by myself--it's too much, all these people. If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I've seen enough. I had enough. Let me out of here!" Numbers 11:4-6, 10-15 MSG
Have you ever talked that way? Well, you are in good company--both you and I would be hard pressed to think of anyone much better than the best of the best, namely Moses, the man of God.
So here we have Moses feeling lower than low, looking up to see the bottom of his desert sandals. He doubted that the assignment he had could ever get done by him. He told the Lord, (and somehow, managed to lead those whiners until most of them died off, but that is another conversation). Returning to this text, well, right after this ugly prayer, God sent him the help he needed: He was given two things:
1) 70 helping leaders, (2 of whom were so shy that they didn't show up to get filled with Spirit--so God chased them and filled them anyway!), and
2) A God-shipped, just-in-time meat package, a delivery to devour, consumately crafted for a crowd of complainer cry-babies
--a covey of quail landed on the quailers (A congregation of "Kvetch" in Yiddish!)
The story by itself is a great one to tell of how God supplies. Yet underneath this account there is a principle we can live.
If we honor the part of the Word of God we know, even when we don't want to, or when we are in doubt,
in spite of our unbelief,
God will do what He has promised.
You may doubt gravity's effectiveness, but gravity will exert its pull, nevertheless.
You may doubt God's power, but God will still exert a pull on your heart and mind, whether you find yourself doubting the things of God or not.
Now this is tremendous news, because it puts the onus on God's Pormises, and their inherent power, and not on us to work ourselves up to a frothy fever pitch, when all we have a is a fever making us froth.
An old mentor was a fellow named David Pawson, an English Methodist who became (of all things) a "Charismatic Baptist!" He told a story from his days in the Methodist church, dating back to the 1950s.
Before television was common, the Methodist church determined to use audio-visuals to spread the gospel. They bought a van and equipped it with a film projector and a sound system. The van would go from town to town. A gospel film would be shown, the evangelist would give a short message, and then would invite people to come forward to receive God's grace (they call that an "altar call"). Any new seekers or beginning Christians that came to faith through that process would be sent to the local Methodist church.
An evangelist was hired. Unfortunately they coudn't find a Christian audio-visual fellow. So they hired a moral agnostic--a clean-living fellow who was not sure about whether he belived in Jesus or not. Off the two of them went. Now even though their beliefs were not identical (and at some points utterly different), the two fellows discovered that beyond the claims of Christ they had much in common, and soon became fast friends.
On evening, just before the film was to be shown, the evangelist got a terrible case of the flu. It was too late to cancel the presentation, so the audio-visual man ran the film without the evangelist on hand. Now, agnostic felllow had heard the same gospel message about 70-80 times, so he had it pretty well down pat. He had memorized not only the message, but the way it was to be delivered. To help his friend, the agnostic gave the message, did the altar call, and had so many seekers respond that he had to get the sick evangelist up out of his bed of illness to ask him what to do with all those people!
The first time I heard this account, it left a strange taste in my mouth... Yet in time, the point of the story became clear:
The Word stands on its own!
True is true whether it is uttered by someone who loves and lives the Truth, or by a befuddled blunderer with a part time relationship with reality!
The Word is true, and its Truth stands on its own! God can use whatever truth emerges from the lips of anyone, even out of the mouth of someone who isn't sure what s/he believes...
If that is so, then surely God can take those moments when you grit your teeth throughout the day, or "white-knuckle-endure" some trying circumstances you are in because you have accepted the assignment that God has for your life.
So when you don't even want to show up, and you do anyway--
GOD DOES TOO!
Dont' give up...
God's mercy is chasing you, and will soon overtake you right where you are.
© David Chotka 2020