We all start out the new year with hopes, dreams, and goals. Many of them may be God-given and though we are facing difficult times now, we hope for a better future. To help you reach your God-given goals, the following reminders may be useful because in-between God’s promises and the fulfillment of them are often challenges and trials. The following Bible stories may give you strength for those in between times:
Biblical promises of a happy ending
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Exodus 3:7-8
Before the Israelites began their exodus from slavery Egypt, God promised the final result—a good land of their own.
This passage reminds me of another one in the New Testament:
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. Mark 4:35-40
In both passages God’s people are promised a safe ending to their journey. The challenge is that for both the Children of Israel and the disciples, between the promise and the destination there would be challenges. For Israel Pharoah’s denials made their work more difficult before they were free and after their exodus from Egypt over 40 years of challenges and failures came before the Promised Land. For the disciples:
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:37-38
The final result and challenge
Israel conquered the land and lives in it today. For the disciples, the storm was calmed, they landed on the other side and went on to turn the world upside down with the gospel message.
After the troubles, I can’t help but think that for both groups there were probably some moments of regret because they did not trust God in the midst of the difficulties and the storm.
If only the people of Israel had said, “God you promised us this land and the giants in it just give us a greater reason to trust you!”
If only the disciples had said, “Lord, what a great storm to ride through to show your ability to keep us safe even in this!”
But those affirmations of faith did not happen. Instead fear, accusing God, drawing back and failure was the response on the part of those who called themselves followers. For Israel, a whole generation suffered and died in the desert because 10 men didn’t believe God. For the disciples fear replaced the opportunity to trust.
We cannot be too hard on them because often that is our response when life becomes difficult: we cry, moan, groan, accuse God, overeat, work too hard, gossip about whoever “made” us behave like that. We have no idea how many people are affected by our lack of faith or what blessings we missed out on because we didn’t trust.
In the midst of the trials and storms, God remains faithful
The end of both stories does not dwell on the failure of frail humanity, but the trustworthiness of the word of God. Israel did occupy the land. The disciples did get to the other side.
Our God is good and gracious. May we face the upcoming trials of life (because there will always be more) with trust and faith. He will get us to the other side, that is never in doubt. Our attitude is.
Prepare in advance for how you will handle the upcoming difficulties. Be in the Word, memorize it, meditate on it, be in prayer and strengthen your heart so when the journey becomes difficult you can be at peace in trusting your ever-faithful God.