For many of us our life has been placed on a temporary hold.
With the COVID 19 virus sweeping across the world it’s seem to put a freeze on life as we know it.
Unable to go to work, school or congregation.
Many of us stuck inside our homes left wondering ‘when will life return to normal?’
P A T I E N C E I N T H E P R O C E S S
This was the thought on my mind as I had my morning devotional time reading through the book of Numbers. It spoke of the Israelites journeying through the wilderness and it says “the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.” (Numbers 21:4)
I bet that’s how most people are feeling right about now. The last few weeks I’ve been receiving messages from friends and readers across the world and as I read between the lines of text I hear the same theme being repeated. Uncertainty. Disappointment. Fear. Frustration. Anger.
T H E W I L D E R N E S S
In Hebrew the word used for ‘discouraged’ in the verse mentioned above is ‘tikatzer.’ ( תקצר )
Which means ‘to be shortened.’
In other words the Israelites lost patience. (Can all the new homeschooling mom’s nod their heads lol)
They didn’t want to be stuck in the middle. In this unknown place of survival.
They were fed up with the challenges and difficulties that come from staying alive in the wilderness and their souls were worn down.
T H E J O U R N E Y
We actually have quite a bit in common with the Israelites believe it or not. I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of people stuck in quarantine understand what it’s like to feel fed up with the place they’re in. The Israelites also ‘wanted out’ and were looking around for the nearest ‘exit’ sign while roaming around the wilderness. It seems like such a wasted, empty space. Non productive, boring, and energy sapping.
They may have been thinking “I thought I would have arrived at my destination by now… I don’t have the strength to keep going… why would God let me go through this!”
Maybe you can relate to some of those thoughts. There’s been a lot of anxiety surrounding the current situation taking place in the world as economy drops, schools shut down and business’s close.
The Israelites felt the same sense of panic that many in the world are experiencing today as they cried out to God “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5)
T H E T E S T
Many are struggling to see how they are going to make ends meet and seeing the empty shelves at the supermarkets are adding fuel to the fear attempting to take over.
This is nothing new. We are wrestling with the same thing the Israelites did thousands of years ago. It’s called doubt. “Can God really provide in this place? Is God really going to rescue me? I don’t think I can make it through this.”
“They challenged God by saying, “Can God provide food out here in the desert?” (Psalms 78:19)
When we reach this place we have two options. We can either choose to stand in faith or become consumed by fear.
Unfortunately the Israelites chose fear and were led astray by the words of their mouth.
They began complaining and spewed forth toxic words of doubt and fear, expecting the worst possible outcome and ended up prophesying their own death declaring “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?”
Tragically serpents came, bit them and many died that day.
We need to look at the lives of the Israelites and learn from their mistakes.
The enemy will come after us when we begin to speak out of a place of exhaustion, frustration and fear.
When we open our mouth to complain and speak about the worst thing that could happen we invite destruction into our lives.
On the contrary when we quietly rest in the assurance God is in control and will always be faithful to take care of us we will learn to flourish in the most difficult circumstances.
Just a few verses beforehand we read about the Israelites defeating their enemies the canaanites. How could such a devastating tragedy come right after such a phenomenal victory?
Like we so often do, they forgot about the great miracles God had done for them and focused instead on the challenges they faced.
We need to remember the great things God has done for us in the past.
So what were the 3 mistakes of the Israelites?
1) Losing patience in the process – getting discouraged.
2) Complaining – speaking death.
3) Doubting that God will provide.
What can we do instead?
1) DON’T LOSE HEART IN THE WAITING
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)
Choose courage and faith in the midst of unknown ever changing circumstances.
We can say with faith “However long it’s going to take, I’m going to wait with a good attitude until my life goes back to normal. Better yet I’m going to trust God that he has a hope and a plan for my future and it’s going to be even better than before!”
Know that even if it looks like nothing is happening during long days of quarantine, God is at work behind the scenes. He develops our character while we wait on Him. He is refining us and making us even more useful for the plans He has for us. This is not the end of the line. He has good things in store.
2) PRACTICE GRATITUDE – Speak Life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
It can be so easy during this time to complain about all the things going wrong. The negative news we hear constantly bombarding us, the events we had planned that got cancelled or the plans we made that have to now be put on hold.
Instead of getting gripped by fear we can stand firm in faith knowing that if God is for us who can be against us? He will never leave us or forsake us and is faithful to keep His promises to us.
We can be thankful for all the blessings we still have. Our family, our home, food on the table, time and space to rest, opportunities to serve and help others. We need to be declaring God’s goodness during this season.
While everyone else in the world is speaking doom and gloom we can be lights in the darkness.
“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Others will notice the difference in your attitude and want to know why fear and panic hasn’t gripped you like it has the rest of the world. Lets all pray for open doors to share the message of Yeshua with others during this time so many more will come to know Him.
3) TRUST GOD TO MEET ALL OUR NEEDS
God will always take care of His children and He can provide even in the midst of a pandemic.
You don’t have to lose sleep at night worrying about your job or bank account. We can be at peace knowing that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will always take care of us. We may not know how everything is going to work out but we can rest assured that God is in control.
Remember the victories God has won in the past and believe that He can do it again!
This article originally appeared on Liat’s blog, March 24, 2020, and reposted with permission.