It is natural to imitate the successful. The ones who seem to have the least amount of difficulties; the ones with the sunshine always on their smile. Logically, this successful group should have been the believers in Jesus Christ. With God Almighty as their Heavenly Father, life for them would be a breeze! Evangelism would be easier and spiritual discipline a cakewalk. For the many for whom the daily chores of life throttle the desire of living eternally, this group would have been the right one to join.
However, believers attract sufferings.
In fact, our Lord had said in this world you will have sufferings. It is in the definitive, though the spell checker on my computer would like to lessen the intensity by auto suggesting ‘would’ for ‘will’.
Therefore, suffering is not just a possibility but a certainty; and a certainty that is in fact a necessity.
Five years of severe Fibromyalgia with endless injections and medications seemed like forty. With broken health, missed opportunities and shattered dreams, my life seemed to have ground to a halt.
Sign me up for suffering for a purpose, or training for a goal. For example, like training to run the marathon. However, with an unclear purpose and an unseen end, I viewed suffering as an annoyance and a deterrence to faithful Christian living. And then I came across this story of Israel’s redemption and read it with greater relevance.
…suffering is not just a possibility but a certainty; and a certainty that is in fact a necessity.
Israel reeling under the terror of the Pharaoh, prompted Moses to believe that he was the best redeemer, circumstance and opportunity could provide. Having pre-empted God’s way and timing, God graciously puts Moses through the ‘Sinai Institute of Learning and Development’. This was to empty him of his Egyptian Arrogance. Here he learns patience and meekness, in tending to a self-willed and ‘easily-will-go-astray’ flock, much like the people of Israel years later.
During those forty years, the people of Israel would continue to plead and cry, under the relentless torture in Egypt. A generation goes by, before Moses has a makeover and is ready to God’s perfection as the ‘Redeemer of His People’.
God’s time moves, it seems, too slowly for man’s convenience.
During those grooming years, Israel would have discussed endlessly the aborted redemption, as they tossed in their beds trying to catch a few winks before the dawn awakens to another round of abuse. How damaging it would have been for their feeble untested faith, as they lived clutching the stories passed on from generations, of the wonder working God of their fathers–Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When Moses finally reappears on the scene, it is not before the furnace is heated seven times as it were, before Israel is born a free nation.
Their troubles do not end there, however, the most amazing verse in the book of Exodus is found in chapter 12 and verse 41, “… even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt” (KJV).
God doesn’t miss His time-table even by a millisecond.
Luke 22:14 says, “And when the hour was come he sat down, …”.
The song that we sing so often, “In His time, He makes all things beautiful, in His time,” takes on a new meaning when we realize that God’s pudding requires that exact amount of heat and time to bake to perfection.
The truth of the matter is that for God who has promised to deliver His people, He can do so in a twinkling of an eye [1 Cor. 15:52]. Yet, He allows the heat to mold and to perfect, though oft times we never appreciate, nor fully comprehend.
So, as we wait for that moment, when the corruptible will take on incorruption, we know that this imperfection will take on perfection. That’s God’s goal and plan for us in Christ Jesus.
And in His will, it is this that takes time and heat.
Viji Roberts – Guest Contributor
Viji Roberts, is an elder and a full-time worker at New Life Bible Chapel, Mississauga, where he fellowships with his wife, Joyce and son, Daniel. He is involved in various ministries including Biblical Eldership Resources, MSC Canada, FBH International and Voice of the Martyrs Canada.