James 5:7-12

            In 1952, a woman named Florence Chadwick attempted to become the first female to swim the twenty-one miles from Catalina Island to the California coast.  Less than a half-mile from her destination she gave up.  It wasn’t because of fatigue, but because of the thick fog.  Florence simply could not see how close she was to her goal.  Two months later she did it, also in the fog, but had learned her lesson and persevered even though she couldn’t see the coast in front of her.
 
            Everyone who has faced adversity knows how hard it is to keep going without seeing the goal.  Yet, it is important to be patient and to persevere knowing that the Lord’s coming is near.  Like the farmer, we must expectantly wait till the harvest.  There is nothing we can do to speed up the process and go straight from planting to harvest.  It takes time.  It takes patience.  Grumbling and complaining about how long it is taking will not make it go any faster.
 
            For the Christian, there must be suffering before glory.  The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.  We live in a time when we will either sink or swim – there is no in-between.  God’s celestial shore is within sight; don’t miss it by getting discouraged by all the fog.  Hang in there, my friend.
 

 

            Patient God, you endure through all of my ignorance and impatience and just keep growing me by your grace.  Thank you for working me as a farmer works the soil.  May there be a great harvest of righteousness in my life as I allow your faithful work to be done in me.  Amen.

Exodus 5:10-23


             It was God who called to Moses out of the burning bush.  It was God who told Moses to go to Egypt because he heard the groaning of the Israelites in their slavery.  It was God who promised Moses that he would deliver the people from their awful bondage.  But the promised vision of release from captivity ran into the harsh buzz-saw of reality.  Moses did exactly what God told him to do with the result that Pharaoh forced the Israelite slaves to make bricks without being supplied with the straw to do it.  Now the people’s situation is even worse than it was before Moses showed up on the scene.  What’s up with that!?
             Since we know the end to the story, we might understand where all of this was going.  But when we put ourselves in the sandals of Moses, it is anything but clear about what was happening.  It is quite understandable that Moses questioned God:  “LORD, why have you treated this people badly? And why did you send me?  From the time I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has treated this people badly, and you have done nothing to rescue your people.”  
             There have been many times in my life when I have questioned whether I was really sent by God to be a certain place or to do a certain thing.  Maybe I didn’t really hear God.  Maybe it was my own voice in my head.  Maybe it was an emotional decision.  But there is something we must all realize:  Just because things go from bad to worse does not necessarily mean God isn’t in the thing.  We are not always, even usually, privy to the mind of God in the big picture of what he is doing.  In the midst of trouble we might think God is not at work, not paying attention, and slow to act.  Yet, God knows exactly what he is doing and sometimes we need to discern that things will get worse before they will get better.
             Wise God, I trust you that you know what you are doing even though I don’t see what in the world is going on.  Help me to see all things from your perspective so that I might have the wisdom to move forward in faith and patience.  I’m out on a limb for you; please do not let it break!  Amen.