This has been an interesting week for us as a family. Do you ever look back over your life, and wonder what you are doing in a certain place, how you got there, and how long you might stay in that holding pattern? Have you ever felt an unrelenting attack from the enemy, and felt the wrath of a blatant attack to harm you?
Numbers 20:5 says “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
We covered this scripture two weeks ago in our SOAP group and little did I know that I would revisit this very portion of scripture this week!
Israel, we know was led out of captivity and slavery from the Egyptians, by Moses, who in himself felt inadequate, yet the Lord called him, anointed him, and chose him as Israels’ leader to guide the people out of bondage and captivity. Reading over these passages I could almost sense the attitude of the Israelites, being led away from their captors to a place God promised them would be good, would be flowing with milk and honey, would be amazing, all they had to do was journey forward, listen to Moses, and get to know this God that had come to deliver them. But they chose to complain. They chose to argue and bicker. God was merciful, he gave them angels’ food every morning, by raining down manna from heaven. He gave them quails to eat, and water gushing from the rock face. During the day God protected the people by cloud, and to keep them warm at night He gave them a pillar of fire. Still they complained and actually wanted to go back to Egypt, so they could enjoy the material benefits of their captivity – the food they craved, despite the bondage they were in, appeared greater to them than God’s provision in the desert. I thought to myself these are such ungrateful people! God heard their cry, and delivered them from pharaoh, and along the way, showed them incredible miracles, with the pestilence, the provision, the parting of the Red Sea…accounts that have changed the course of history were witnessed by Israel – still they cried out “why have You brought us to this terrible place…?”
This week I have had such an event. I know where God has brought my life from. I have seen His goodness time and time again, and He has led me out of difficult places. I have seen and witnessed and experienced miracles and known beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was instrumental in many events, not only in my life, but in the lives of those I knew. This week, I was jolted into a place where I cried out to the Lord and asked the same thing “Lord why me? Why did you bring me out of Egypt to this terrible place?” At 3:00AM on Wednesday morning I was on my way to the ER. Admitted for two days, and a barrage of tests to eliminate probable causes from stroke to heart attack, I was subjected to the tests, the monitoring, the big “?” of what is going on now.
I lay for many hours feeling out of it, for any of you that have had the pleasure of being loaded up on blood thinners and nitroglycerin, the sprays and patch, you will know the effect it has on your body. It gives you a headache that is likened to a migraine to the power of ten, unbearable! In my heart I began to cry to the Lord and asked Him “Lord, why am I under this constant attack? Why me? When will this end? Why can’t You pick on someone else? Doesn’t the enemy have some other place to be?” The nauseating feeling, coupled with my mind racing full of questions I reached that point where I didn’t want to go on anymore. If you have been in a similar place, you will know what I mean. You reach this point where nothing matters anymore, and you want the end to come.
I began looking over my life, and saw how good the Lord had been to me and my family. I also saw many attacks, some brought on by our own poor decision making, but also how relentless the enemy had been over the years. From witchcraft and food poisoning in the work place, to working alongside Pastor Terry in the rural areas sharing the gospel and bringing help to people in need of salvation. All the way through today, and our experiences here in the USA, I have seen the Lord working in ways that have allowed me to marvel at His faithfulness and goodness. He truly does open doors that need to be opened, and likewise closes doors that need to be closed. But then, in the still of the night laying in the hospital bed, gazing at the ceiling, I started asking “why did You bring me to this terrible place – Lord you know my heart, why such an attack?”
It was in this moment, that despite feeling ill, being ill, and wanting this section of my life to end, that I felt His peace. Sure the Lord can and does reach down and touch people and instantly heal them, others may spend a lifetime crying out for healing and never see it until graduation day. Others who have served the Lord for many years have never experienced the onslaught of the enemy and therefore do not identify with those who face relentless attacks from those fiery darts that fly across the spiritual night in search of piercing the saints’ armor. This week was such a time, a battle, a warfare. In my own strength I have realized that I cannot overcome the enemy and his evil tactics, I am not equipped to face his antics. Someone once said “pick your battles”. I realize that many times in zeal to please the Lord we often go out there and take on projects and things and ministries that he didn’t call us to, and in the process the enemy sees this hairline crack and will go at it relentlessly to try and take us out of the race. If we don’t pay attention and see his evil schemes we will fall and fail.
If there is any encouragement we can take from the onslaught of the difficulties that come our way, it is to know that above all Christ lives in our hearts, and that we are His prized possession, and that no matter how difficult that journey in life seems, to never give up, never surrender (only to Him), never retreat, and never ask to go back to Egypt. For those of us who belong to Him, we are the apple of His eye, and can never be plucked from the Father’s hand, no matter how awful this life may seem, no matter how tragic and difficult everything may seem…it will only last but a moment, and forever we will be His.
And so today I am no longer asking “Why did you bring me out of Egypt to this terrible place” – instead I am asking the Lord to “show me which turn to take in the pike, and to keep going to the place He has called me”. Those who come against you to harm you, to bring you low, do not be concerned for the battle is the Lord’s and He will wrestle on your behalf and the end victory will be yours in Christ. The encouragement I received this week is to always wear the armor of the Lord, and never wonder out into the field unprepared, know who it is that is in you, and after you have done all to stand, STAND.
I thank the Lord for His grace. I thank the Lord for His mercies. I thank the Lord for His love.