Sunday, April 21, 2013

Promises in the Wilderness

I made it to Nehemiah today!  I'm about 1/3 way through the Bible.  I cannot believe I have missed out on this historical perspective for the last 32 years since I became a Christian.  My goal is to ensure that my kids read the bible cover to cover early in their lives so that they will have a fuller, richer experience in all of their bible studies.  I want them to know who Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah were, what era they lived in and what their roles were. 

I've learned a lot of in-depth, beautiful, historical things and also random pieces of trivia.  For example, I want my kids to know there's actually a person named Nimrod in the bible and he wasn't a doofus or a dunce.  He was a mighty warrior! (Genesis 10:7-9)

Today I was referencing something back in Deuteronomy and ran across notes I had written in the margins throughout Chapter 8.  In this chapter, Moses is telling the Israelites to give God the credit due Him for all He has done, even in the midst of their wilderness wanderings.

Here's a link to the entire chapter:

Excerpts from Deuteronomy 8 (my highlights added)
1Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Some of my notes from this chapter:
1) We reap God's promises when we are obedient
2) Desert experiences reveal who we are
3) It's all for our good
4) It's all for a reason
5) It's all because of love

This passage reminds me that in order to please God and reap His blessings we must first behave as he commands and expects us to.  We must live close to Him and not by our own or the world's standards of "good enough".  It also reminds me that when the fire gets hot, our true character and the core of who we are comes out.  We either negatively internalize and combust or we channel our hurts and devastation to the One who can see us through.  And in the end, through everything we experience - whether good or bad - it's all for our good.  V
erse 16 assures us that there's a purpose in what we go through:  "so that in the end it might go well with you."  God doesn't humble and test us because he can.  He does it because He knows best and He wants it to end well for us.  No matter how bad things get, his covenant is to LOVE me (Deuteronomy 7:9 says, "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.")

Over the last 18 months I have certainly felt I was in a dreadful wilderness, a thirsty and waterless land.  But I have also received His manna and water too.  Even through the hard times, God gives us what we need.  There have been some senseless events take place in our country this week.  And these things are happening all over the world.  I've also heard of horrible personal tragedies striking families close to my community.  My wilderness in no way compares to the ones these people are in and will go through for a very long time and some of them for life.  I've often asked it and I'm sure the people in Boston have asked it this week. 


I refer myself and others back to the answers found in Deuteronomy 8:
1) Desert experiences reveal who we are
2) It's all for our good
3) It's all for a reason
4) It's all because of love

I can't imagine life without these promises of God.  I don't think God punishes the innocent to get our attention, but if getting our attention is a by-product of tragedy and wilderness experiences, then all is not lost.

Other Stuff
It's still been tough for my physically.  I should have started writing a book about all my crazy dreams at the beginning of this journey...  I have dreamed about more carnivals, amusement parks and high-cliff adventures than I could have thought possible.  It may make for entertaining reading one day!  I've added another medicine back in the mix since when I came off it, I got incredibly dizzy with no relief.  Jonathan and I are headed back to Mayo in Minnesota on May 20.  Talk about blessings in adversity... God planned our first trip to Mayo in October (beautiful weather; no snow) and now this visit in May (beautiful weather; no snow)!  We missed the Minnesota winter and we are soooo grateful!  I'll be meeting with my regular doctor and the first neurologist I met with back in October.  I am certainly looking forward to going over the last 6 months with them but at the same time I'm a little apprehensive.  I know that it's Satan trying to get me to believe that they won't have any answers or it will be another 6 months of trying different medicines and treatments.  I've resumed the practice of earnestly seeking God's divine healing.  Quite honestly I gave up on that several months ago and quit asking.  I've never lost faith that He CAN; I guess I quit believing that he WOULD. 

Thank you for continued prayers, love and support.  I still need them and appreciate them more than you know.  When I see people from time to time that I rarely talk to and they tell me they're praying for me every day, I almost get a little embarrassed.  I guess sometimes I don't feel I deserve so many dear and faithful people praying for me.  And I shouldn't feel that way.  I have come to realize that prayer is one of the most loving and generous gifts we can give each other.  And so I sincerely thank you for your faithfulness.

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