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There are times when I grow weary of waiting for The Lord. I wonder, “When, Lord?  When will you come in and bless this family.  When will our prayer finally be answered?” Its at these times that I must come before the Lord fervently and soak myself even more in His word that I may be changed, encouraged, and prepared to continue to be steadfast in this journey.

It was at a time like this that I found myself reading in the book of Deuteronomy.  In this book the Hebrews are getting ready to cross the Jordan into the Land of Canaan–the land God promised to their forefather Abraham more than 400 years earlier.  Moses is recounting the last forty years to the new generation of Israelites.  He reminds them of the rebellious hearts of their fathers and challenges them not to follow in their footsteps.   He reminds them of the miraculous way God led them out of Egypt, and His bountiful care for them.  They drank water from a rock and ate bread from Heaven – literally! Then in the next verse we get a glimpse of the sweet care of The Lord for His people.

Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

Such a small verse, but full of meaning.  Imagine, forty years, wandering in the desert, treading through the sand and hot sun.  Now imagine every movie you’ve ever seen where the characters are wandering through a desert.   As they stumble through the seemingly endless sea of sand, their clothes quickly become tattered and dirty, and, somehow, their shoes disappear.  But the Israelite experience wasn’t like that!  God provided for them in this small, almost unnoticeable way — yet it was such a big provision!

I don’t know about you, but I can only wear a pair of jeans a couple years before they start to wear out.  Fraying at the edges; thinning at the knees — and this from not wearing them everyday! And my shoes! I take care of my shoes, keeping them in boxes when I’m not wearing them because I can’t afford to buy new ones every year.  I’ve been able to keep them nice for about 5 years, but even these gently cared for shoes are showing signs of wear and are needing to be replaced.

The Israelites, however, didn’t walk on pavement and carpet, nor did they have a clean closet in which to keep their clothes and shoes.  Nope.  They walked in the desert.  They lived in tents.  Not just for 5 years, but for forty years.  And their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell! Such miraculous provision!

Grace upon grace

Eighteen months ago I brought my large, noisy brood into my aging parents still and quiet home.  They had to change they way they lived.  So did we. The promise of a quick sale of our small home and us moving on in less than six months came and went.  They knew we couldn’t go back, it was just too small, so we remained living with them.   At times it was a struggle.  But the Grace of God was ever present! Through it I have seen the patience of my father, a man not known for this character trait, increase! He lovingly tolerated the loud foolishness of my children, much to my surprise. He smiled at things that before would have caused him great irritation.  My mom, too, loved that we were with her.  She was lonely and our presence filled an emptiness within her.

And, honestly, we weren’t uncomfortable. If we had to be stuck living with someone, this was a good place to do it.  We had the entire downstairs to ourselves, a space that was actually quite a bit larger than the entire house that we were selling! We could go days without seeing one another as our only shared space was the kitchen.

Through His grace, I was able to be here to help my mom through a hard time in her life as she endured and recovered from knee surgery.  As she improved, I was also able to assist them in the overwhelming task of preparing their large home for sale.

What a great reminder! In the midst of trials and hardships it is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves. I’ve personally thrown way too many pity parties for myself. But, through meditation on the Word of God, He showed me that He is right there with us, taking care of us. He has never left our side. And one day He will bring us into “the promised land.”

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord [i]forever.

Psalm 23

 

Recognizing God's Grace in the Midst of the Desert

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