Israel stood poised on the edge of the promised land. An entire rebellious generation had perished in the wilderness. Now their children and grandchildren prepared to claim the inheritance God had promised to their fathers. But first, Moses addressed the people one last time. He wanted to remind them of all that had gone before and lead the people to renew their commitment to the covenant. As he spoke, he reminded the people that through their long journey in the wilderness God had carried them as a father carries his son. God carries us, too.
The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. (Deuteronomy 1:30-31)
I wonder if Israel always felt carried in the wilderness. God led them into places where there was no food or water. Enemies attacked. People grumbled and complained. Yet where there was no food, God gave manna in the morning and quail at night. Where there was no water, God sent water from a rock. When enemies attacked, God fought on behalf of his people. Their clothes didn’t wear out. Their feet didn’t swell. And despite their rebellion, God displayed grace to his people. His presence continued to accompany them. He taught them what it meant to live as God’s holy people. Though the way was not always easy, God carried his people as a father carries his son.
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And God carries us, too. Like Israel, we may not always recognize that God is carrying us through the midst of our difficulties and struggles. He sustains us with his power. He provides for us with his hand. At every moment, in every situation, God’s presence is there–even when we don’t see it. And that is the choice of faith. As my husband said in his sermon last Sunday, even when we can’t see God’s glory, know that his glory is there and worship anyway.
If you’re wandering through your own wilderness today, know that God is carrying you. I don’t know what that wilderness journey might look like for you. Maybe you’ve just gotten a devastating diagnosis. Maybe you’re waiting on a long-deferred dream. Or maybe you’re weeping over a prodigal child, wrestling with the heartbreaks of motherhood, or grieving the loss of one you love. You’re in the wilderness, knowing the gift waits somewhere over that distant horizon, but not sure if you have it in you to march the miles and fight the enemies and climb the mountains that lay between you and the promise. Don’t lose hope, dear one. God is near. He has not left you to travel the wilderness alone. He is with you. As a father carries his son, he will carry you. Hold tight to him, and press on. God carries you.
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