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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I've been pestering Will for weeks to write a "guest post" on my blog. I was finally successful in bribing him with chicken spaghetti! I don't know if I'll ever want to write a post after his again, because he's such an amazing writer and mine just doesn't compare! I hope you enjoy his post as much as I do!

Direction. Since we left our home it had been the question that carried throughout the camp. We were safe now, but at times it felt as if we are still held captive by circumstances. There had been so much promised, so much seen; but our patience was wearing thin, and it seemed our time was running out. The journey seemed to be that of a lifetime, never knowing what the next day would bring, always hoping for the day of rest to come. 
But in this desert it is hard to find rest. The water is scarce and the food is always the same. The people grow weary, and understandably so. The thirst. The thirst is almost unbearable. A dry mouth and cracked lips have led only to a dry and cracked spirit. Why must we persist this desert? Why must we suffer after suffering for so long? 
So many questions we ask, so many answers we long to find. We cry out , "WHY?," but there is no response. I myself search the sky for a response, an answer of hope in this desolate place. Looking towards the mountain, my eyes are drawn towards something, something I have not noticed in days. The cloud stands in stark contrast to the deep blue sky, a threatening whirlwind encircling the tent. Strange how things so extraordinary become mundane in this painful life. 
I find myself filled with the desire to return to our former home, at least there we were fed, at least there we had strength. 
In the midst of the cloud and my whirlwind of thoughts, doubting the reason for everything I know, a feeling grips my soul. It is a feeling I've felt before, but it has been some time. Closing my eyes I breathe deep the desert air, and a fresh breeze that wasn't there before. I open my eyes to see the cloud, the great whirlwind, moving across the desert sky. Shouts break out around the camp as families and tribes begin to gather their things. 
The cloud. The presence of God. The reason we are here. In this desert hours seem like days, making it easy to lose track of time and thought. But in this moment, as the cloud begins to move, I am taken aback at the fresh reminder. The Lord is moving us towards His promise. He is our guide, He is our shepherd. Were it not for Him our lives would be worthless, but His promise brings us hope. Chills run down my back as the whirlwind flows across the plains. The voice of Moses pulls my attention away saying, "We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said 'I will give it to you.' Come with us..."

Numbers 9-10, though I have taken some liberties with the text, provides an incredible reminder of the importance of following God's leadership. Though the Israelites found themselves in many a tight spots, they never found themselves alone, but were constantly led by the presence of the Lord. Yes the Israelites made a few mistakes. Even after seeing miraculous works of the Almighty God, they did manage to get some things right. They knew that God was leading them to the Promise Land, and they knew that they had to follow his presence. Numbers 9:23, "At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord the set out." The Israelites never knew how long each stage of the journey would be (Num 9:22), but one thing they did know. The only way to get to where God was taking them was to follow Him. 
We have to reach the place in our relationship with Christ where we become totally dependent on His presence. Ironically enough we live in a "self made" society, the notion that greatness and success comes from the individual. In other words, we are who we are because we made ourselves that way. We desperately need to be reminded day after day that we are simply heading towards what God has promised us. This life is not about making ourselves great, but making Him great. How do we do that? Forsaking the preconceived idea to follow our "dreams" and beginning on the journey of following the presence of God. Without His presence we are doing nothing but wandering around in the desert searching for answers. The comfort we find in all of this is that God holds true to His promises. He will lead you in the right direction. He will take you to your destination. 
In my own life I constantly struggle with where to go next. How to take the next step, how to solve the next problem. This usually brings me to Stress City, as I begin to weigh out all the obstacles and questions that I have for the future. Thankfully, God did not call me to be a problem solver, He called me to be obedient. We are simply called to walk in His presence. Don't get caught up in the little issues that drive you crazy or cause you to worry, rest in the presence of the Almighty. Seek His Spirit and His grace. 
Read Numbers 9-10. Be encouraged, be obedient. 

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