by Stan Smith
"In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
I was always fascinated by the story of the Exodus. Particularly the part about the Red Sea. You recall how that went. Israel had just undergone the 10 plagues without suffering from them. The last was the angel of death and they were spared by the blood on the door and the Passover. Pharaoh begged them to leave and the people showered them with riches just to get them out. Then he changed his mind (again) and hunted them down. That evening, stuck between Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea, they got to observe up close and personal an undeniable miracle. The sea parted and they walked through on dry land. When they got to the other side, it closed again and Pharaoh and his army were destroyed. Magnificent! Truly amazing! And they were so excited and elated that they practically danced all the way to the Holy Land and walked in victorious, knowing without a doubt that the hand of God was with them.
No, wait, that's not quite what happened, was it? No, they walked to the Holy Land and turned back, too scared to go forward. Cost them 40 years in the desert. Before that, they walked to Mount Sinai, received the Decalogue directly from God, and forgot so soon that before Moses came down the mountain they were having a worship orgy with a golden calf. Before that, they got hungry. No, catch this. It's important. Exodus 14 is the story of God telling Moses to prepare the people, then getting them across the Red Sea on dry land, then annihilating the Pharaoh and his army. Exodus 15 is the song of Moses, exulting in God's reign. Exodus 16 ... almost no time elapsed, you see ... begins with "And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, 'Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger'" (Exodus 16:2-3). They went from "Hallelujah!" to "Hell in a handbasket" in nothing flat. Fascinating!
I know that we're being told that the economy is turning around. I know that they say we're on the rise again, that the jobless situation is improving, that incomes are inching up, that things are getting better. Maybe. All I know is that my little corner of the world it isn't necessarily so. They just cancelled the project I've been working on for 7 years. New contracts aren't showing up. One source says, "We've been promised another year of support" and another says, "I don't think we'll make it past July." Jobs in my qualifications are scarce and getting one that pays the bills is scarcer. Things aren't looking too good.
"Okay, now wait," some of you are saying. "Normally you may write a bit odd, but it flows from thought to thought. What's this leap from 'Aren't those Israelites funny?' to 'My job is in jeopardy'?" Reasonable question. You see, I'm just as foolish as they. We tend to think that we're going through life on our own. We find a spouse, we find a job, we forgea career, have a family, all that goes into life. We don't. You see, "In Him we live and move and have our being."
So what about me and my job? Well, as it turns out, I can trace a history of God and my employment. My wife was pregnant and I was out of work. What was I to do? Well, look! The military will let me in ... and they will let me inimmediately (instead of the 6 months they originally told me) as long as I took this job ... which turned out not to be the job I would ever choose, but to be the best possible job they could give me. Nice. And when that finished? We went cross country to get another job which I lined up and turned out to be unavailable. But there was another job there and when I was asked, "Where did you hear about us?" I said, "Your ad in the paper." "We didn't put an ad in the paper," they told me. And then there was the next move and I landed this job out of the blue without the proper qualifications after looking for 6 months without any luck and doing stuff I really enjoy. Look, just in jobs alone I've been through the plagues and walked through the Red Sea. I've watched the hand of God in my employment record. So how could Ipossibly say, "Things aren't looking too good"? How? Because, like the Israelites, I forget too easily. I tell God, "I'm worried about this job" and He asks, "What makes you think you got this job in the first place?" Oh, yeah, I forgot.
"In Him we live and move and have our being." I make choices. I walk by sight or I walk by faith. I choose paths and select a wife and raise kids and all that. In the final analysis, however, "It is God who is at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." Oh, and He is good. Really good. It's much better to walk by faith than by sight because my sight isn't so good. God is.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:11).
"Refreshment in Refuge" from
Pharaoh's hard heartRead Article »
I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.
For more writings you can see my blog at birdsoftheair.blogspot.com.
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