From the Purpose in Slavery to the Oblivion in the Desert

Have you ever felt like you were wandering around in the wilderness?
I mean, have you ever been unsure of what you are doing? Have you ever come off a “clear season” into a “foggy one”? Have you ever gone from knowing exactly where you are suppose to be doing, into a time of waiting, questioning, or wandering?
Maybe, you have been trying to look forward, but your mind wanders to the past. I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of this.
I began to think of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. I used to criticize the Israelites. Then I realized, I was doing the same thing they were.
I tried to picture the conversation they may have had…
Israelite #1: Can you believe this?
Israelite #2: No. I don’t even have words most days. My wife asks me all the time if we can go back
Israelite #1: Mine too. I felt like someone in Egypt. I felt like we had a purpose. I felt like, even with the slavery, we were following our ancestors
Israelite #2: Yeah, and now, we are wandering around a desert with nothing to do
I began to picture how they might feel. They had “purpose” in Egypt, although they were slaves. He could look around and point to one pyramid and say, “I helped build that” or “My dad worked on that one”. They had a rich heritage; yet, the Israelites had been in bondage.
They went from working with their hands to wandering with their feet. It was uncomfortable. It was not what they were familiar with. They had nothing to show for themselves. It seemed like resources were more available in Egypt. Yet, God always made provisions in the desert.
They become comfortable in seeing God provide through the Egyptians. God wanted them to be content with Him providing.
We have to remember (I am speaking to myself) that life with God is a journey. 

We will not always have the answers to our every question. But, we will always have Him.

My life will not be the same as your life. Your life will not be the same as mine. We are each unique in our gifts, personalities, thought patterns, and behaviors.
God who knows exactly what we need. In Psalm 86:11 it says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless”
God knows what is best for each of His children. We need to stand our ground on His Character. Although you or I may not know what is going on, He does. We can trust Him. The one who parted the Red Sea for us to leave Egypt, is the same God who can walk on the sea to rescue us in our storm. He is the same God who can bring water out of a rock. He is the same God who can take five loaves and three fish and feed multitude. He is able. We (me, primarily) need to trust His abilities and not our own.
Maybe, God saw that we trusted ourselves too much. Maybe, He saw that we were trusting in other men too much. Maybe, He wanted us to grow more in our walk with Him. Maybe, the only way to do hat was by leading us out of “Our Egypt”. I don’t know, but God does.
My prayer is that I can continue to trust and seek as the answers don’t seem to come. Or, are not the ones I expected. God is faithful. God is true. God knows what He is doing.

Who Are We Behind Our Scars?

This question popped into my head, as I sat eating lunch, after having a few conversations with people who had been scarred. Who are we behind the scars?  
We all have scars. We all have wound. How those scars got there vary from time to place from age to location, nationality and race. Regardless of how, we all have scars. We all have wounds.

Some scars may have been obtained from our own stupidity. Others, may have been obtained by the hands of another. Some may have been obtained from what some may call as a “freak accident” But not one of us have been left unwounded or unscarred.

My scars may not look like yours, but we both experienced pain. Our wounds and eventually scars forever change us, but they don’t have to define us.

We get through the wounds, but we never get over them. Just like a hot pan on tender skin, that scar may fade, but it never completely disappears.

From time to time we may hear that question, “what happened there?” Telling your story often causes you to relive the pain, but it’s what’s under those scars that keeps us grounded.

So who am I behind my scars? Who are you behind your scars? I want to take a moment to remind you. Because, sometimes life gets the best of us, and we can’t see past the scars.

You are priceless. You are loved without conditions. You are a joy. You are a delight. You are a child who has a loving Father who never lets you out of His sight or affection (Jeremiah 23:23). You are a treasure. You are redeemed. You are rescued. You are set free. You are beautiful. You are made in the image of God.

A scar is defined as, “a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue” according to the Miriam-Webster dictionary.

A mark left by the healing of an injured tissue. I sometimes wish that we could see the unseen scars on the tissue we call the heart. I believe it would radically change the way we see each other.

As I was thinking on this, I remembered that when Jesus showed Himself to the disciples, after He rose again, He still had His scars. Those scars were the proof Thomas needed to believe. Those scars meant Jesus overcame rejection, separation, grief, loss, and even death.

What if our scars are proof for someone else to know, despite the most horrific of times, that God’s unfailing love sustains us. And where sin abounds, grace abounds more.

Underneath our scars and our wounds is a God who lives within His child whom He has given worth to. He is within us like a mighty warrior. His truth sets this captive free. His mercy conquers over judgment. And He is the one who enables us to overcome.

When we peak behind the curtain, when we look past the scars on another, you see the image of God. You see God’s creation in every tear stained face, and every scarred soul.

It is in the brokenness we find our redeemer. It’s in the times of great wounding that we find sweet fellowship with Jesus, who for the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross.

So do not be scared of your scars. They may be the proof to someone else who needs to know that our God knows suffering. It may be proof to another that He is who He says He is. It may be proof to another that God is a loving, compassionate, gracious God who loves us enough to discipline us. And who loves us enough to allows us to be wounded in order to draw us closer to His heart for the suffering and the broken.

“If the church is not for the broken and suffering, the Church is not for Christ” –Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

Be brave with your scars, for your scars are proof that you’re alive, and what was meant for harm, God can turn into good!