Do you get frustrated? Do you wonder how you will ever get caught up on your ever growing to-do list? Do you feel depressed or question why you’re facing struggles and trials? Well, you’re not alone, and the first thing one must do is remember God sees you and every detail of your life. He is in control. Let’s look in Exodus 15 to see what we can learn from the children of Israel, as well as what not to do.
The children of Israel found themselves in a dry place right after they had been delivered from Egypt. Here God had brought them out, parted the sea so they could walk on dry ground, destroyed pharaoh and his army, yet, they were losing hope…. Why? Because they had entered the the Wilderness of Shur and there was no water. But, instead of focusing their attention on their faithful God who had delivered them, their focus was on the lack of water, and hope began to fade.
I am convinced that many of us have been in this place at some point. In our lives there are a lot of dry places. Times that we cry to the Lord for water but the waters never seem to come. It is in these dry places that doubts arise… doubts about our calling, doubts about our purpose, and doubts about our future. The Israelites found themselves with no water as soon as the shout of praise for deliverance left their lips.
The children of Israel’s next stop was a place called Marah, meaning bitter water. They had water, but it was bitter, and they could not drink it. There are numerous families within our church alone, who have tasted bitter waters this past year. The bitterness of sickness, tragedies, disappointment, rejection, and even death. Times can be very difficult when you are faced with the bitterness of Marah. The enemy wants to keep our focus on the pain, and what we do not have, so our hope will begin to fade. This is where the Lord directed Moses to cast a small tree into the water and the water became sweet. Jesus (THE CROSS) has been cast into the midst of our bitterness and He alone can make these bitter places sweet again!
Then the Israelites finally reached Elim where the Bible states there were 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees. The Lord was faithful in guiding them and providing for them in their journey. The trees provided an abundance of fruit and much needed shade. The wells of water were a welcomed sight to these weary travelers in bringing new life and sustenance to them and to their cattle.
Prayer would have been a great place to start at their first stop instead of complaining and murmuring against their leader. We have the Word of God readily available, as well as many testimonies of the faithfulness of God from our families, friends and church members. God wants us to succeed, that’s why he sent Jesus… He loves us! Don’t allow bitter thoughts to turn your gaze from our provider and Deliverer. We must keep the faith, and stay in the scripture. More than anything, we must keep our focus on Jesus, because when we get side tracked and our minds begin to wander, we will begin to lose hope, and that is a miserable place!
Remember, for every Wilderness there is an abundance of refreshing water. For all the bitterness, there is Calvary. For all the weariness, there is energy and renewing.
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is the pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.