I would be lying if I said that the Christian life was easy. It would be completely dishonest for me to claim that there has never been days where I felt like giving up. It’s a courageous life to live. Every single day is another opportunity for people to disagree with me, a chance for Satan to attack me, and a choice between believing the lies of my flesh or trusting the promises of my God.
The thing about God is that He often gives us promises that take a while to be fulfilled. That’s a pretty basic concept, but it doesn’t seem so simple when you’re in the heat of battle. I can sit and list at least 20 things that the Lord has promised to me that I have yet to see manifest in the physical. Countless promises that have been around for months, years, and some my entire lifetime.
A passage of Scripture that I’ve always really connected with on this subject is Numbers 9. Leading up to this passage, the Israelites have been released from their slavery in Egypt and have been lead into the desert by God. He has promised them a land that is for them and their people to dwell and prosper. Now, obviously there are several reasons why they did not get to go to this land in a timely manner, but I won’t get into that right now. I want to hone in a little on this particular scripture.
“On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. This was the regular pattern – at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And whenever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go.” -Numbers 9:15-18a NLT
To explain further, the cloud/pillar of fire that rested of the Tabernacle was what the Lord used to lead this nation in their wandering. They were unable to just make a plan and stick to it. The spontaneity and inconsistency of the cloud’s movements made that actually impossible. They were forced to wait on God every second of every day. I can only imagine how exhausting that would have been. I can only imagine how discouraging it would be to set up camp in a great spot, only to be moved again the very next day. Or how agonizing it would be to be camped in an awful place and be forced to stay there for a year. While Scripture doesn’t explicitly say this, I can assume in their humanity that after a while moving camp would no longer be exciting. For a while, there would be a mindset that “We’re moving camp! We’re finally going into the promised land!” And then you don’t. The mindset would slowly become “We’re moving again? Great, where do we have to camp next? How long will it be THIS time?”
I can relate to this heavily with my own life. There have been seasons in which I have been comfortable, and the Lord will move me to a new place of learning very swiftly. There have been seasons where I have felt extremely out of my comfort zone and begged God to move me, and He desired me to stay right where I was. I’ve come to be in a state of mind that doesn’t get excited about moving anymore. I almost roll my eyes, because I begin to just assume that the promises He gave me are not actually coming and there isn’t any point in getting my hopes up anymore.
How wrong is that pattern of thinking? The very idea that I know better than God is laughable, and the thought of that lack of trust is disgusting to see in myself. Since when has He failed me? Since when has He EVER let me fall? When has He ever orchestrated disaster in my life. Never. Not once.
Our job is not to question what is next. Our role in the story is not to criticize God for not doing things the way that we would. Our job is to follow His path, WHATEVER that may mean. My job as a believer in Jesus Christ is to trust that His timing and His ways are best, and know that whatever He asks of me is ultimately for my good.
The cloud has once again moved. The season has changed. I have no clue what this new time of life means or what it entails. But I do know that even in my waiting for Him to fulfill His big promises, He is fulfilling small ones and showing His love in new ways to me every single day. I am excited, because I have faith that whatever the next step is, He is going to get me through it with joy. I refuse to listen to Satan’s lies that my God is not good. The cloud is moving, and I intend to follow it.