Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Surprise!! - Day 14


Spent some time with some friends yesterday who are going through a tremendously disappointing situation. They are heart-broken, and my heart breaks for them. Although I can't get into the details of their situation, I can say that this is the latest in a long line of disappointments for this precious couple. They've traveled this road before, and that's what makes this latest disappointment so incredibly frustrating.

As I was talking with them I was thinking of a picture in my mind. I recently saw part of the cult classic movie, "The Blair Witch Project." I never had a desire to see this awful film, but it was on, and it was so incredibly hyped that I decided to give it a try. In one particular scene, the three main characters are lost in the woods, convinced they are cursed and being pursued by something terribly evil. They hike all day, never knowing where or when they will be tormented by this evil. Their only hope is to get out of the woods and make it to safety. They so desperately want to get out, and their desperation is fueled by the hope that they are actually making progress.

After hours of hiking, they make a stunning and terrifying realization. Instead of making their way out of the cursed woods, they have actually been walking in a gigantic circle. They round the corner and realize that the downed tree that crosses over the creek in front of them is undeniably the same downed tree and rushing creek that they walked over when they began their hike several hours before. They become angry, terrified, and hopeless.

As I watched this scene, I thought of the people of Israel and how they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. I thought of how many times they must have crossed the same downed tree over and over again. What a terrifying and frustrating journey it must have been.

And then I thought of my friends and their terrible disappointment. Why, instead of tasting the milk and honey, must they continue to walk this same gut wrenching circle? Where in the world do they go from here?

No wonder the Israelites strayed from God, and no wonder God continued to make them wander. The Israelites constant failure to reach their goal must have been maddening. Their tendency to veer from God's direct instructions was, no doubt, due to impatience and mistrust. God had to break them of all inklings to trust in things other than Him. Amazingly, it took him 40 years to do so. So, if we don't get exactly what we've asked for when we've asked for it, it may be that God is trying to work something out in our lives before He leads us to the promised land. It may not mean that at all, though. It may simply mean that God is up to something that we can't understand at the moment. Either way, God's desire is that we surrender to the idea that He can be trusted above all things.

A surprising revelation on a cold Saturday evening.

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