40 Years in the Desert

“There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years.” – Hebrews 3:9

I remember when I was a young child. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes painful, but looking back I never had any real cares to speak of. I’m in my forties now and the stresses of life weigh me down frequently. I have so many good things surrounding me, like my wife and kids, a good job, and many other things. I have a life many would love to have, but sometimes I wake up frustrated and annoyed at the world. How many of you can relate to that?

Moses led the Israelites through the desert for forty years. All that time, they saw God’s majesty constantly. They literally saw God’s blessings rain down on themselves. Still, they complained almost nonstop. They get bread, but complained because it wasn’t meat. They knew God saved them from slavery and certain death, but first time they had the chance, they made a golden statue to worship rather than sticking with God. They even said they would have rather died in Egypt as slaves rather than follow God and Moses, even though they had physically seen so many miracles almost on a daily basis.

That is one of the many reasons why I’m not God, nor do I want to be. Thank God that He is a God of mercy and patience. He puts up with so many of our shortcomings, and yet He loves us anyway.

God blesses us in a million ways, a million times a day. Some blessings we see and many we don’t, but all are important and all of them are hand made by God just for us and our prosperity. The last thing our Heavenly Father wants for us is frustration and anger. This life is meant to be lived to the fullest and enjoyed, not agonized over. God could have cut us off and just figuratively walked away after we were created, but that’s not His style. He plays an active part in our lives. Like the Israelites, God may not always give us all we desire, but He always makes sure we have exactly what we need.

In Genesis 22, God introduces Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord that Provides. It’s more than just a name, it’s something God does daily. If you don’t think so, just try holding your breath for 20 minutes. The Lord proved the air you breath and the body that desires that oxygen. Even though we know all these things, just like the Israelites in the desert, we think that God is somehow short-changing us. We believe that if we don’t work hard and stress ourselves out constantly, we won’t be able to keep up with life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We focus on our stresses and our messes rather than focusing on our blessings. That’s not fair to God and it’s definitely not fair to our blessings.

The Bible says that Jesus came so that we could have an abundant life. He doesn’t want us to be slaves to work and stress. We are to work so that we may take care of those who need it, whether it’s ourselves, our families, or the poor and destitute. We should have the minds and hearts of servants, not slaves. That is two very different things. A slave does not have free will to choose what they do. We, however, have the free will that God gave us and we can indeed choose who we serve. We can choose to care for people or we can choose to do nothing. We can choose love or hate. We can choose Jesus or the devil. We are not bound to anything and we should stop and think about that when the stresses of our lives weigh us down and back us into a corner.

Will you accept Jesus or reject Him?

Don’t keep stumbling in the wilderness of your life. Forty years worth of blessing right in front of them, and yet the Israelites still chose to look at the problems rather than the blessings of God. God’s blessings are all around you and I, all we need to do is to stop for a second and take a look. The first one, and the greatest one by far, is Jesus Christ. For through Him and His grace we will find every blessing we will ever need and more.

God’s blessings to you.