Living Miracle to Miracle

I once read the stories of the Israelites in the wilderness with a faintly veiled sense of smug superiority. How could anyone be so stupid as to see God provide miraculously for their needs again and again, and still doubt His care at every turn? “We don’t have water and God doesn’t care!” “We’re sick of the food God’s giving us; we want better!” “We can’t face that battle; God’s not strong enough to help us defeat our enemies!” How could anyone see what they’d seen and not have faith?

Now, having talked to more than one person who has had to live “miracle to miracle” for her needs, and now facing such a period myself, I have to face up to the truth that most ordinary Christians are more “Israelite” than we want to admit. Waiting for God to give you each thing you need in turn, without obvious alternative ways in reserve, isn’t as much fun as you might think. Not when He seems to delight in keeping us waiting until the last possible second each time, teasing us with the possibility that this might be the time He fails to come through. While the devil whispers that you can’t really trust God and our flesh seethes with irritation, impatience, and fear.  

Some Christians–those whose faith has grown significantly stronger than their flesh–consider this way of life a joyful adventure. I, and no doubt millions of others like me, see it mostly as a major nuisance and a terribly inefficient way to run things. I now suspect that if I had been with the Israelites in the wilderness, I’d have been one of the loudest grumblers, perhaps one of the first fried for snapping in God’s face once too often. One or two miracles in case of serious emergency would be wonderful to see, but for day-to-day living, I’d much prefer a steady paycheck and a five-figure savings account.

God, I believe, but help my unbelief!

It helps a little to remember that all muscles grow by stretching and exercise, and the faith muscle is no exception. Kids who grow up getting whatever they want on demand tend to become unhappy and unmotivated adults. From that perspective, God’s keeping us waiting for what we need is not sadistic but wise. Every time we resist the temptation to turn from His will and pursue easier solutions, our perseverance is strengthened. Every time we thank Him for His provision, however and whenever it arrives, Christ in us comes into clearer focus. Every time we force ourselves to wait on God just a little longer, every time we praise Him without demanding a better reason than that He is God, every time we affirm that He does know best, we open ourselves further to new blessings.

We think that the most important thing is to have our material needs met. He knows that the most important thing is that we be properly groomed to enjoy His glory for all eternity.

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