The story of the covenant people of God in Genesis is a story of God's faithfulness to a people who are fighting to survive. They are exiles, sojourners, almost everywhere they go, and they face the steepest odds in every land - not to mention the odds they lengthen through their own sin - and yet they cling to a promise that God will sustain them, bless them, increase them, and get them home. That is the story arc of all of the people of God, but we forgot the whole exiles and sojourners part of it.
In this season of extreme refining for the people of the world, we have an opportunity to realign where we put our trust. For many of us, our temptation is to look to the very things that enslaved us for years, without looking to our Lord or even consulting Him on what to do next.
In the midst of the global suffering occurring through COVID-19, we once again find ourselves with the questions of Job and his friends. We want to know how God works, and we want simple answers for what He is doing in the world. While many of them may be found, and while the Scriptures and revelation of Jesus Christ within them offer us all we need to know about the nature of God, and lots of information about His work, there is still an element of mystery to His work in the world that we simply must accept, lest we misrepresent Him like Job's friends did, or we attempt to paint Him into a corner like Job did.
In this season where we are forced into relative states of isolation, and we don't get the benefit of the crumbs falling off the faith tables of our friends, it is a great time to lean in, in faith, and to taste and see that the Lord is good, for yourself.
Gideon was the same weak man, the people were still in their same immediate difficult plight, but the reality of God's presence changed the prospects of God's people. The promise of God's power, changed the potential of God's chosen servant. Gideon stepped into the reality of being a mighty man of valor not by changing who he was, but by remembering who he was with, and more significantly, who was with him.
Sarah is such a lesson to us. She had waited and waited and waited for her son, and then he arrived. You would think that the story would tell us that she lived content as a result for the rest of her days, but the Bible is too honest for that sort of Disney story telling. The boy was still young when Sarah's eye caught the flourishing laughter of Ishmael, the son of Hagar, her slave, and the woman that Sarah had used and abused as a sordid surrogate when she couldn't wait on the promises of the Lord. Her contentment was lost in the gaze of comparison. This is such a typical human response, finding ourselves unable to be satisfied with the blessings that God has given us, because our eyes are fixed on the blessings that He has given to another.
My relatively short experience of walking with God has shown me clearly that I learn most about God, myself, and how to walk in His love, in seasons of difficulty and distress. I like seasons of prosperity and enjoy them when they come, but prosperity can lead to a presumption of my own capability, while difficulty undeniably declares my dependence on something other than me to sustain me.
I have always wanted to live through a revival where the Holy Spirit is richly poured out amongst His people in tangible and powerful ways. I must confess, that I have become so indoctrinated by our chosen methodologies (many of which are good and right, but some of which we really need to re-evaluate) that I assumed that this revival of God's Spirit would happen in a large gathering, with all of our best Evangelical bells and whistles. But, what if God desires to pour His Spirit out into us in a powerful way while we cannot gather, and what if He needed to break down some of the ways that we think so that He could give us the mind of His Son to think and act in new ways?
How many of us are missing out on the incredible offer of the life of the Kingdom of God because we aren't paying attention or are distracted with our own interests? We are prepared to miss the invitation to the great celebratory life because, truth be told, we think that the one that we are creating is better than the one that is on offer.