Showing posts with label Moses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moses. Show all posts

Acknowledged


This morning I was reading in Exodus and I stopped and thought about this one verse for a long time. It’s the last verse of chapter 2. The children of Israel have been enslaved and are being afflicted by Egypt. We of course, know the story and know they are being set up for a huge deliverance. But they don’t know that yet even though it was prophesied by Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph.

The verse says this: So, God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. That’s a lot of action words. He heard, remembered, looked, and acknowledged them. And the very next chapter is where God seeks out Moses to be His deliverer.

In chapter 4, Moses and Aaron show up and explain to the elders what God is up to. They have an active response to the promises. In verse 31 it says, So the people believed, and when they heard the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

Their deliverance was still a long way off, and we are going to watch it unfold over the next chapters. Deliverance had not yet come, but the process had started. Nothing physically changed from verse 30 to 31. They were still in bondage. They were still going to get up in the morning and work under harsh taskmasters. But their response and outlook were different. They believed God had visited them and they worshipped.

God visited them in the midst of their pain, in the middle of their storm, and in their affliction. He didn’t wait for their situation to “get better.” He didn’t shun them because He didn’t know what to do with them or for them. He acknowledged them.

The caregiving road can be filled with pain, suffering, and regret. It can feel like we are carrying a load that gets heavier with every step. And God knows that. He sees us. He remembers us – even when life seems to forget us. Now it’s up to us to respond in worship. But if there’s anything we do know as caregivers – it’s laying our lives down. And that’s the heart of worship.

Today, I will let my response be one of worship. As life presses my heart, I will be grateful that He acknowledges my situation and my pain. I will be thankful that He remains faithful to His promise to Abraham and that I am an heir to that promise. I’ll lay my life down on the altar of this life and I will continue to declare He is my God. And that is where freedom lives. Will you join me?

Who knew that was there?

Over the years I've come to enjoy the Psalms and find myself reading there a lot. I'm not sure why they are so intriguing to me, but I seem to enjoy them more and more. This morning I found myself in Psalm 77 which is one of my go-to passages, but this morning I saw something totally new.

I'm reading along and stopping at key scriptures I've learned to rely on, and I hit verse 16. It's like I've never read it before. Maybe I stop too many times at verse 11 which I run to frequently, but verses 16-20 just stood out to me this morning.

In verse 16, the Psalmist, who happens to be Asaph, describes how the Red Sea felt as Moses and the Children of Israel approached on their exodus from Egypt. The scripture says the Red Sea trembled and quaked to its very depths. I love nature and its response to God, and I know in Psalm 19 it speaks of how nature's voice is constantly declaring God's glory. But I never thought about how the Red Sea trembled once it was in God's line of sight. One look and the huge sea began to roll back and make way for His people.

If you read on down to verse 19, you'll find what really grabbed my heart this morning. It says Your road led through the sea, Your pathway through the mighty waters -- a pathway no one knew was there. Moses had just led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and the first thing that happens is they run smack dab into the Red Sea and Pharaoh's armies are closing in on them from behind. It was not a good place to be in - if you look at it from their point of view. But God had a different point of view.

He did not look at the Red Sea and think, "Oh no!" He looked at the Red Sea, man's road block, and saw a path no one knew was there. He just led His people on through like a flock of sheep.

As caregivers, we can run up on lots of road blocks and from our point of view many times we can feel boxed in. But God has a different point of view. He does not see us boxed in. Even if we are overwhelmed and retreat to the caregiver's cave and try to hide - He sees it differently. We may feel we are shivering and reeling from life's battering, but He sees the opportunity to tuck us in tightly to His heart and hold us close. He always has a path to the other side. It may be hidden under a sea, but it's there. All we have to do is follow His direction instead of our own.

Our lives can be so hectic - even on the calmer days. I used to get all bent out of shape when something didn't go as planned. (Okay so sometimes I still do....) But I'm finding that there are these hidden pathways that can lead to something brand new. That's what God does - He makes a way - no, He sees and makes a way where there doesn't appear to be one. His pathway is already there - we just have to discover it.

Today I will turn my thoughts to how God has hidden pathways I just don't see yet. I'll rest in Him and trust Him to lead me through life's obstacles even when I can't see. My meditations will be on His provision, His power and His pathways, and I will pursue them instead of my own. Will you join me?

The Right Kind of Changes

There's no doubt the wilderness changes you, and caregiving can be it's own special kind of wilderness experience. Social interactions change, getting out changes, friendship statuses change, work can be different; just about every aspect of life can be different after we become a caregiver. For some, the changes may be less dramatic, but for others they are enormous. In my particular situation virtually everything changed. How we deal with these changes is a good indicator of our character.

Actually, how we deal with the wilderness reveals unique aspects of our character. The wilderness changes you. I was reading in Hebrews over the weekend and spent quite a bit of time in chapter 4, but this morning I backed up a bit because I wanted to see why the writer started talking about entering into God's rest.

Just before the author's discourse on God's rest he was talking about the children of Israel and how they failed to enter God's rest. Their choices in the wilderness were what separated them from His rest. My loose interpretation is: these same people who loaded up their stuff, spoiled the Egyptians and followed Moses out of slavery to freedom - lost it in the wilderness. They stopped believing God's promise, disobeyed Him and missed the opportunity to enter His rest as a result.

The wilderness isn't an easy place to be. And if you want to look at it one way - Moses was the caregiver for a million rebellious people. How'd you like to tote that around for awhile? They were willing to go with him when they packed up and left the cruelty of Egypt. What were they expecting? Of course they ran smack dab into the Red Sea - God stepped in. And then they ran out of fresh water - God stepped in. And even though they saw God's hand over and over again - they chose to rebel and complain. They were so hardened they missed the opportunity of enjoying His rest. The wilderness changes you.

As we walk through the wilderness of life - we will make choices; we will make changes. One of the first cries of my heart when my son became injured was that I would draw closer to God, not pull away and not become bitter. My desire has been to let life's crucible squeeze out a sweet fragrance and that my life would be lived in a state of worship.

I have not always accomplished this. I have fought, and fit, and spit and cussed many times. I've argued, faltered, given up and been angry more times than I can mention. But in the end - I cling to Him rather than fighting against Him. The wilderness experience forces us to make deep and lasting decisions about our faith and our relationship with God.

Today, I will seek to enter His rest. I'll reflect on the ways the wilderness has changed me - the good and the bad. I'll rejoice in the good and give Him the bad and ask Him for grace. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and how He hasn't left me in the dry wilderness even when I became a hot mess. I'll embrace His grace today and be thankful for the changes He's brought about in my life, even in the wilderness. Will you join me?

The In-Betweens

This morning during my quiet time I was thinking about some of my favorite Bible characters and the obstacles they overcame. Of course, it's the fact that they overcame that makes them heroes of our faith. I was trying to think if I could find some distant way to identify with any one of them. But I'm not sure anyone was a caregiver or could relate to our world today in that way. David took care of Jonathan's son Mephibosheth who was crippled, but other than that I pretty much came up empty.

But as my mind was strolling through some of the great OT stories, it landed on Moses; and that's where I settled. We know at God's word he charged in and faced an obstinate king only to find out that God's chosen people were just as obstinate. Moses really had his hands full trying to provide for a nation of people. There was a lot happening between Exodus chapter 3 and chapter 19.

In chapter 3, Moses is standing on the mount and God tells him that he'd return to that spot to worship Him. And just as God promised, in chapter 19 - Moses has returned with the nation of Israel with him. how amazing is that? But -- it's the in between that Moses had to endure that I want to focus on.

Before Moses gets back to that worship site, he faced Pharaoh and went through the 10 plagues. THEN once they got out of Egypt, they ran smack dab into the Red Sea. For me - I'd have fallen apart right there and thought I must have missed God. But not Moses - he asked God what to do (that's a novel idea) and then they went across on dry land and Pharaoh's army was drowned. That's when the celebration started and in chapter 15 we get a glimpse of their song of victory as their enemies were washed away.

But it's  not over yet.

Just a short trek from the Red Sea - they run out of water! The water they found was bitter - I can relate to that as sometimes everything (even good things) can have a bitter taste. God provides fresh water and then what? The natives are restless and start fussing about their food source. No problem though, right? God rains down manna on them every day for them to eat. But that's not good enough for these grumpy people - they want meat. And Moses gets an ear full again! No problem - God drives quail by the dozens into the camp so they can satisfy their longing for meat.

Everything is nice and comfy in the wilderness now and they enjoy a beautiful Sabbath celebration. Until.....they ran out of water again in chapter 17. Moses prayed once again and God provided.Then in chapter 18 we see how Moses is burdened by trying to keep peace in the camp. He was working daylight to dark quite literally trying to solve problems. I'm pretty sure this was not a peaceful trip for this fearless leader.

But finally in chapter 19 Moses gets to stand on the mountain once again and rejoice in God's promises. It seems it wasn't the promises that Moses had to worry about - but the in-between that gave him fits.

As caregivers just one day can feel like this kind of emotional roller coaster ride - and sometimes it's hour by hour. We are up and in have it all together mode and some little something sends us down the deep dark tunnel of depression. It's okay - we'll be back up in a few minutes only to plummet down again... it can be a vicious cycle. The mountain tops are great - but there can be a lot in between.

It's those struggles in between where our faith is tested, refined and defined. In those times the glory of the mountain top can fade. We just have to remember that it will return. Sometimes it's as easy as finding a quiet place and choosing to worship - other times life chips away at every bit of sanity we have left. During those times - we learn to wait on Him. And that's actually powerful stuff. It's the waiting during the in-betweens that builds our strength, tests our courage (and patience I might add). Faith is fertilized in the field of waiting....and materializes on the mountain top as we commune with Him in worship.

We cannot do away with either - the mountain or the wilderness. They both play a role in defining our relationship with God and strengthening it too.

Today, I want to think about how both the mountain and the wilderness can yield way to worship. I'll meditate on how God does not change during the in-betweens. He remains faithful and constant no matter if we are looking to Him to provide our basic daily needs or worshiping Him on the mountain tops of life. And while I wait for Him - I'll praise and thank Him for always being with me - in all the in-between spots of life. And I'll rest in that thought. Will you join me?












Behind Before I Begin

Caregivers typically have long lists of things that need to be done every day. If you think about it, they are taking care of another whole person and for many who take care of an individual who is total care it means doing all the basics at least twice every day; once for yourself and once for your loved one. Some mornings we can get up ready to take on the world and get a day's worth of chores done. Other days we can wake up feeling behind before we even get started.

I wonder if Moses ever felt that way. He could be considered a caregiver of sorts. He had millions of people that he was leading across to the Promised Land. They all had to be fed, clothed and cared for. I can't imagine what Moses dealt with on a daily basis. And while he didn't have to meet some of their basic physical needs, they looked to him for direction, sustenance, and guidance. I think what has amazed me about Moses' character was that no matter how rough it got and how crazy the Israelites acted his prayers were full of mercy and love toward them. God even told Moses at one point that He would wipe them out and start over with new people and make another great nation starting with Moses. (Exodus 32) Moses immediately cried out for mercy for his people. I want that kind of heart. I have to ashamedly admit that I would more likely tell God to,  "Go ahead, I'll wait right here!"

But in reality isn't it that deep mercy, concern and care that keeps us at our loved one's side? No matter how rough it becomes we just roll up our sleeves a little further to make things happen. There are so many aspects to caregiving besides taking care of physical needs. Moses wasn't just "in charge" of the Israelites, he was in love with them. He advocated on their behalf numerous times. I don't think we are really much different. No matter how difficult it gets, the caregiver is not looking to meet their own needs but those of the one for whom they are caring.

Well you know what? God cares for us, for you and me the caregiver. 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. I think there are a couple of ways to look at the phrase He cares for you. On one hand He cares for or takes care of us much like we do our loved one. And on the other hand is the perspective that says He cares for you  meaning He can do all the caring and you won't have to. We can relax as we remember that He is in control. He's got the caregiver's back and He will take care of us and do the caring for us when we need Him to.

Today I will let anxiety go. I will meditate on the truth that He cares for me as much as (or more than) I care for my loved one. I'll think about how God is my caregiver. I'll turn my thought to how much He loves me and I will let Him do the caring for me today.  Will you join me?

Less than Perfect

Have you ever had someone tell you that because your loved one wasn't healed you lacked faith? Sadly enough, I have. Yet if we look at all our Bible heroes we'll see that we admire them because of the trials they endured. Each of them give us a picture of how to trust God in adversity; and how to keep faith during intense testing and trials. Adversity is actually the true test of faith. It's in the midst of the trial that we find out just how much we trust God. Can we trust Him when our lives are less than perfect?

The caregiver's life is definitely "less than perfect" if we compare it to others. For some of it caregiving can mean that we are locked up in our own little cave unable to get out and about. For others, there may be some getting out - but there's not quite the freedom we see in the rest of the world. Caregiving can complicate everything on a variety of levels. We can't use the struggles of caregiving to measure our lives. We also cannot use the pleasures of caregiving as an accurate measure of life or faith.

This morning I was thinking about Moses and how he followed the Lord's leading to bring the Children of Israel out of Egypt's bondage. He led the "great escape" and they were free from Pharaoh's grip. But their rejoicing was short lived because they ran smooth into the Red Sea; and Pharaoh's army was closing in behind them.

Just because Moses ran into the Red Sea doesn't mean they were going the wrong direction.

The Red Sea was not a sign that Moses had done anything wrong or made a wrong turn along the way. It simply became an opportunity to trust God more. Moses and the Children of Israel were in a position for God to show Himself strong on their behalf. Caregiving can be a struggle; but it is not a sign of faithlessness or weakness; just an opportunity to trust Him more. It gives us the opportunity to see Him work directly in our lives.

When my son was first injured I thought for sure I'd done something wrong to end up in the situation. But we cannot use struggles and trials to measure ourselves or our lives. Every Bible hero faced something. It shaped them into the hero of faith we admire and enjoy studying today. When we face a Red Sea or an impasse in our lives it's not time to condemn ourselves and wonder what we did wrong; it's just a time to learn to trust Him more.

Today I will meditate on His sustaining mercy. I will think about how He doesn't abandon me when I face a "Red Sea" in my life; but He instructs me and goes with me through the struggles. Today I will thank Him for His wisdom, peace, direction and ever-abiding presence even in the trials. Will you join me?

Doing Our Part

When I started with the theme about being still this week I really didn't know it was so much work (see yesterday's post!). But as I went through the different scriptures I realized there is a lot resting on our shoulders to be still. Exodus 14:14 is one I have heard all my life and it says: The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. (NASB) The context is Moses and the Children of Israel standing on the edge of the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army pressing in from behind. In verse 13, Moses tells them that they are going to see the Lord's salvation and God's going to take care of the oppressor. Verse 14 then goes on to say He will fight for them. However, they have to do their part as well - keep silent.

I let my mind form the picture of what is happening here as if I was standing there listening to Moses. I have an army of people who really do not like me and I do not know if they want to take me back into slavery or just kill me. Then in front of me is  a raging river that is impassable. And Moses wants me to keep silent? He instructs me to wait on the Lord and let Him do all the work? Doesn't Moses know I'm a caregiver and I know how to get things done? I'm used to doing it all myself!

As caregivers we have learned to adjust to just about any situation that presents itself. We are one of the most adaptable people around and we tend to have to fight in just about every arena just to survive. We have to argue with health care workers to just simply do their job, delivery people who can't seem to do what they said, the system to get proper supplies, and the list goes on and on and on. But He wants us to keep silent or be still? Only if we want Him to fight for us!

Now I understand that there are things we cannot let go and it can be a fight to get things done. We cannot give up in that arena. God's not going to call FedEx or DHS for us. There are things we have to take care of and I'm not talking about sitting down and just seeing what He can get done in the natural realm today. I'm talking about settling our souls down and getting our minds and hearts to a place of stillness so that His peace can overtake us and He can fight the battles of life for us. 1 Peter 5:7 says for us to cast all of our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us. That's what I'm talking about - I think you'll find when you let Him carry you spiritually, the natural will be much easier to deal with.

Today I'm going to meditate on being still, and keeping silent. My goal is to not complain (tall order I know!) about where I am in life. I'll give every anxiety over to Him as He enables me to handle everything that life chooses to throw. I'll do my part of finding my rest and peace in Him - will you join me?

Expectations

Things do not always work out as we expect them to. Seriously, who ever planned on being a full time caregiver to a loved one? We obviously had  much different expectations for our lives. Perhaps we expected to travel the world (my own personal one...), or get married again (NOT on my list), lose ourselves in an enjoyable career, or serve in a local community or church. No matter where we thought we were going with life, I think it is a safe assumption that it has not turned out like we expected.

This morning I was reading in Hebrews again (I haven't strayed too far away from it yet), and read this verse in chapter 8.(NLT) When I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. In context, God is speaking of the Children of Israel and how He rescued them out of Egypt's cruel slavery. But as He took them out of Egypt the first thing they ran into was a road block that looked like the Red Sea. I really do not think that this is what they expected to happen as He was rescuing them from Egypt...do you?

 Here they are sandwiched nicely between the Red Sea in front of them, and Pharaoh's army pressing in from behind. Do you think this was what they were expecting? Did it look like a great rescue from there I wonder? And we haven't even mentioned that He led them from Egypt to the wilderness! They had to scratch their heads much of the time and wonder what God was up to and where had His promises gone...

I know as a caregiver I have has similar  thoughts as where I am does not look like the expectations I had for this phase of my life. This can be very disappointing - just like the Children of Israel may have been disappointed to see the many miles of wilderness stretch out before them when they were expecting a promised land.

But I am thinking that when God was getting ready to do something big He always provided a wilderness first. He spoke to Moses in the wilderness when He sent Him to get His people. Ezekiel it seems was always dragged off to the wilderness to hear God's voice; and Jesus went to the wilderness to fast and be tempted before He came out with His public ministry...So I am thinking...maybe we are not in as bad of a place as we thought...today I will purpose to hear from Him in my wilderness...how will you spend your wilderness today caregivers?

Right Back to Him

 God is so patient with us. I run to Him so often, I often wonder if He silently shakes His head as I approach for the millionth time. In a ...