Most of the time I try to stay away from writing things like this. I’ll be using some scripture, and in these kind of contexts I don’t normally like to write because I know for a fact that people are going to reply to this or message me separately and tell me why I’m wrong or why this scripture doesn’t work with what I’m saying. But I’ve gotten to a point where, although I know it will happen, I don’t mind. No matter what anybody says, God still used this scripture to teach me something very important, and I’m still very excited to share it.
Lately, I’ve been posting a lot about having faith and trusting. I’ve posted about difficult decisions, and some loss. It’s been a little rough, and it’s hurt. It took everything in me to give up things that were the very reasons I woke up in the morning. It didn’t make sense to me to have to let go of the things and people that brought me back to the Lord after my season of wandering. They seemed like such huge blessings in my life, and I wasn’t ready to lose them. I spent an entire day asking God the same question, over and over again. “Why?” Why did I have to give them up? Why was I forced to give up things that were good? Why was God taking away the very things that helped me trust him again and live my life for him? Why would a Good Father take away the things that had answered every prayer I had had for many years? Why did he give me these blessings, knowing full well that they would be taken from me so quickly?
I was asking these questions all day, and then night came. It was time to sit down with Jesus and do my study for the day. I’ve been going through a plan, so I just opened up to where my next passage was. I was supposed to read in the book of Numbers. I don’t know about you, but personally, that book has never really spoken to me. There’s this fad going around the young christian community where the only books we can really allow ourselves to learn from come from the New Testament. We only read things that relate to us exactly, without the need to dig any deeper. Yet, with this new reading plan, God has been teaching me to learn from all parts of the Bible, even the unexpected ones. Even still, it’s a learning process, and that night as I opened up the scripture I was fully prepared to learn nothing and still go to bed with questions. But I was wrong. In fact, I was insanely wrong.
The passage comes from Numbers chapter 9. It was written about the Israelites after they had left Egypt. They were on their way to the Promised Land, led by God for their every step. I won’t tell you every detail of the passage, because I encourage you to read it for yourself. It’s a wonderful read and full of some incredible teaching. But what you need to know for what I’m talking about in this post is that there was a great cloud that was leading them. This cloud was over the tabernacle, and stayed with them both day and night. The cloud would sometimes move, and this was God’s way of leading them where he wanted them to go. It was also his way of telling them where to make camp and stay for a period of time. Now, here’s the passage that REALLY stuck out to me.
“Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. Whether the the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.”
They went when they were told, and they stayed when they were told. This is what I needed to learn. I was brought out of my slavery. God took me out of the death I was living, and he started me on this journey of christianity. What I didn’t realize at the time that I was at my happiest was that the people I was with, the church I was attending, and all of the opportunities in front of me came from God. I was camped at a certain spot and learning from where I was and who I was with. But right now, it’s time to travel. The cloud is moving, and it’s time to pick up camp and follow it. Those blessings were not permanent. Those gifts and those beautiful moments were not to be the rest of my life. I have so much more to learn, and I have so much more that God is going to teach me. I have to be willing to go when it’s time to.
I had a friend sitting with me the other day when I was complaining about losing everything. I was voicing the fact that I was so angry and that I didn’t know how to trust a God that would take such wonderful blessings away. All he did was ask me to hold out my hands, wide open and palms up. I’m sure he was planning on saying something, but he didn’t have to. I already knew, and I was already in tears from the realization. I needed to let go. The fact was that I was holding my hands in a tight fist. I had my hands open for blessings from God, and when I received them I clenched and held onto them so tightly, unwilling to let them go. But the way I should live is hands constantly open. Able to receive blessings, and able to let him take them back. There are more things coming. There are new people to teach me, and new ministries for me to be a part of. I just can’t let my plans for the future get in the way of what God has planned for me and how he wants to use me in the best ways possible.
The things that were good, the things that made me happy, were the very things that I had to let go of in order to find more of God. Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. said in a sermon the other day that “A good thing becomes a bad thing when it becomes the foundational thing.” Don’t put your faith in people. Don’t put your faith in circumstances. Don’t put your faith in what you believe you can do for God and what you believe is best for your life. Live with hands open. Live with your eyes unwavering from the cloud, ready to follow or stay wherever God would have you. Live with God as your ultimate purpose, and your sole desire.