Grumbles and Cries
Then in that condition of lack and need, God will provide what I need. In Exodus, God differentiated between the livestock of the children of Israel and the livestock of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. I don’t have a cow or goat or sheep. If I had a goat as food I would probably starve. A goat doesn’t have any practical purpose to me. For the Israelites, the goat represented their livelihood. I actually sort of need a cell phone, for example and not a sheep. Now, I don’t need a cell phone and the Israelites don’t need a goat or bread either. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” But what has God called them to do and what has God called me to do? The question is, if God has called one of His children to do something, when there is a judgment against unbelievers to show that He is God, is He going to provide for my basic needs to carry out that which God has called me to do? Will He say, “Go be a shepherd but I am going to kill your livestock. Ha, ha.” In terms of the grumbling by the Israelites, technically, that was later after the time of judgment to Pharaoh and after the Lord ruined the Eyptian livestock. The grumbled in the wilderness when there was no food (to start). It was a time of God revealing Himself to His people of Israel.
So the lack of food was to reveal Himself to His children as He wants Him to know Him. “Know that I am the LORD.” And also to show who they are. When He fed them food, then they knew who He is and Who they are.
For me, when God hears me in my state of grumbling and crying out (I’m having trouble telling if I am grumbling or crying out, but I think that there is at least a little grumbling involved, from time to time, or has been). When God hears me, He will show Who He is by providing the need and in providing the need I come to know who I am in His purposes and who He is as the Creator and Provider of that.
18 months ago when I was at a conference, there was a prayer and the speaker asked something like what limited you from fully following God’s will for your life. I opened up my heart to Him and asked that He show me what was the answer. I figured that He would show me some sin or real limitation like some sort of embarrassing personal flaw. I was actually relieved when to my mind I thought, a thought that was something like, “To believe that God would do all He wanted through me in psychiatry.” That is, that He would use me.
Well, it was a relief because it wasn’t an answer I feared, like, “you’re just a big sinner,” but was kind of exciting and also anti-climatic.
However, today and yesterday as I have been struggling with some needs I have that have brought me to the place of grumbling or crying out to God, I think that the issue is not actually, well, in the Israelites case, provide food, but the issue is, “Will I be changed personally and in my DNA, in the core of who I am to believe that God will provide for anything that I need to become all that He would like to do in my life?” Is God going to say, “You’re a shepherd” and kill my livestock? Is God going to say, “Follow Me into the wilderness and I am going to laugh as you have no food.” Is God going to say, “I want you and I have called you to this really unusual ministry and now I am going to undercut it by delivering a life-blow to it?
I don’t care about psychiatry, I think you know that. What is important is not the job or the fact that there are goats or sheep. The importance is, “Is God my Provider? He is, “The LORD is my Banner?” Is He, “The LORD is my Healer?” Who is He? What is the role that He wants me to do? The issue is, is He going to come through?
And speaking on that, God, in His position of advantage, He is able to just wait until I finally reach the end of myself. And that happens the second He pulls a little bit back with His grace and there I am, wiped out. Then He suggests, in concept, “See, don’t think it’s your faith. It’s my hand, not your faith, not what you can do or have done.” Yet at the same time He suggests, “Hang on! “ and strengthens my faith. But that is not surprising because that is what He does. Two opposing things at the same time. All Him and yet somehow finds something for which will one day reward me.
Getting back to the need. The need for food and water, the need for shelter and livestock, If it isn’t about God simply providing the need but about revealing WHO HE is and about bringing His children into a new level of understanding WHO He is and who I am in light of it, then not only will He provide the immediate need, but He will provide the future inheritance.
So the children need to see and learn and we need to see and learn and know, that God, my banner, my healer my provider, will supply the immediate need and He will feed me and He will feed me because He is going to do all He wants in my life. And for me, as far as I can tell, is that HE has called me in a certain way, to do a certain thing in this area of “Egypt” in psychiatry. (It is painful to even suggest, like I am trying to gain some position or position in Egypt, in the world, like who cares about psychiatry, about dispensing what the world sees as mental health. But It isn’t about that, and there’s the rub and there’s the truth of what God said before 18 months ago. Will you believe Me that I can use you in this area of psychiatry?
So I groan, God, I need a cell phone to do my job. I need a list of twenty items yesterday that I wrote on a prayer list that I couldn’t believe all of it that no wonder I was feeling bogged down. And I can’t even pray about those things anymore because my heart was not able to pray anymore about them without being hard because it was broken in that it was unable. Unable to ask God about these things in a manner that was appropriate and there God showed the limits of my heart. “See that is the condition of your heart,” (not His actual words but that is what I got out of it).
So I am in a worse condition that I already knew how bad the condition is. So it is hopeless. I can’t even pray or ask anymore so I was just like separated from the issues because I couldn’t even pray, but I knew God knew and I had to leave it at His feet and just guard my heart to protect it from being hard and had to forget about the rest.
So, the end of myself. Stuck. And that is what the condition was when Moses cried out to God and the people were grumbling, and I grumbled and I cried out. And the verses in the Bible said, to paraphrase, that when God fed them, then He know He was God. But the lesson, to “Know I Am the Lord” when He feeds us is not, “thanks for the food” but if God is providing bread from heaven (and The Bread from heaven) then He has called you to the job He has called you and He will provide everything that you need for that.
He will provide all that you need, not only to eat but to carry out everything that He calls you to do. He will not abandon you. He will not lead you somewhere and then leave. It isn’t about the food or the uncomfortable hunger. It is about God calling each of us into a plan He has for each of us and we need to do it.
It is about coming to a knowledge of the truth that when you go up to a giant who is 8 feet tall, you know Who your God is and who know who you are. When you come into a kingdom that was prepared for you and you have been groomed for your whole life (David) then you know who you are. You can say and know that God is your God and He will provide everything that you need. You really know, because He fed you bread from heaven.
So this is the struggle and the lesson. Abide in this or just harden the heart, which is not only not difficult to do but impossible for some of us. But I love Jude that says, “He is able to present you pure and holy before His throne “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you pure and spotless before His holy throne.” You know, not to talk about theology controversies, and I don’t really care that much what other people believe, but I rest on the fact that He will never let me go and I have no confidence to keep myself in Him because I can not rest in that. I can however rest in the knowledge that He will provide everything I need, from simple faith to food to a cell phone and whether or not I have a cell phone or a goat today, and how long he streatches me out until He shows all my grumbling, and I cry out and know, He is faithful. He is faithful and though I may stumble seven times, I will rise again and I will do and carry out all He wants me to do and it isn’t for psychiatry per say. But it is a menas by which actually He is causing me to be in the position in my family that He wants me to be in, which is actually dependent upon my husband in a way that is uncomfortable for me and allowing the circumstance such that God is dealing directly with my husband. So the point is that it isn’t just some vague psychiatric position that God will one day bring me into, whatever that may be and whenever, but God has higher purposes. So it may look like goats and bread but it is following and walking in the promises of God.
posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:43 PM