At times God places a vision inside your heart, or permits some difficulty into your life for your own good, or tells you to move to an unknown land (Genesis 12:1), or tells you to sacrifice your eldest son (Genesis 22)? (Well, not you. Abraham in this case, but you get the idea). Yeah…my instructor did that.
I like the instructors that tell me how many reps or sets I have left, the ones that scream encouragement the entire time. Oh, and when I get really close to quitting, my favorite instructor will shout over the loudspeaker, “Don’t quit! Hang on in there! Summer is here! Remember your goals!” as though she can see me about to give up. I always make it through those workouts with no problem.
A new instructor, however, explained the exercise but didn’t tell us how long we had left, nor how many total were in the set at the beginning. She merely demonstrated the exercise, and said, “go!” The next thing I know, the music started to play, and I started moving. I went, and went, and then I got tired. And when I got tired, I started to rethink the activity.
I entertained the idea of quitting. “I can’t do this! If I stop, my muscles would stop burning. I could breath easier…oh, and the water!” Stopping sounded great. This instructor didn’t scream encouragement. She just said, keep going. What I really want is for her tell me how long I have left. Tell me how many reps. Tell me the time is up. Tell me something.
She didn’t though, and just when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore, she told me I had 30 seconds left.. then the activity was over.
When I arrived home, tired after the hard workout, I thought about God’s relationship with the Israelites. He led them out of Egypt (Exodus 13:18). Next, Moses led them through tough situations, but each time, they did what I did, or rather, I did what they did. Moaned, groaned and whined the entire time.
Moses, we are tired of eating this bread! Moses, where is God? We are thirsty! Why did He bring us out here to kill us? Exodus 16:2 (_____) Moses, Moses, Moses! Numbers 14:12 (Paraphrase mine) version)
In that gym class, I didn’t shout, “Moses!” I just stopped, which is likely worse. When the Israelites shouted their complaints to Moses, God’s anger “kindled” against them (Numbers 32:13).
Yikes. The anger of God is not something I want to experience. Fortunately, it looks like I don’t have to because Jesus accepted all of God’s wrath against sin on the cross. The thought of wrath is sobering. It communicates God doesn’t like grumbling. He doesn’t appreciate constant moaning and groaning in spite of the difficulty. In the face of physical, emotional, or mental distress, God prefers we simply trust, endure to glorify Him for His faithfulness. Then thank Him.
Even when He doesn’t tell us how much longer we have in the difficulty, or what the entire staircase in the climb looks like, when we just move forward in humility, in the light of His love, in respect of His sovereignty, He is glorified.
When the hard workouts of life hit, and you are being moved from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12), remember God’s goodness and His previous display of love every step of the way, for He will deliver you from them all (Psalms 34:19).