* * * * *The past two years have been a crazy, confusing, encouraging time of refinement for me. Since moving back to Washington in the fall of 2007 God has had His hand in my life like never before - convicting me of sin, enlarging my heart to truly love others, building up new community for me. At times, I felt completely hopeless - living in my parent's basement, substitute teaching, giving up a full ride to grad school, lacking fellowship with other females, watiting on God's timing in my relationship with Micah... nothing seemed to be making sense. At other times though, I completely trusted God's sovereignty over my life as I saw his love transforming me. Looking back over the past two years - I know that God used my circumstances - which often seemed miserable at the time - to make me fall more in love with Jesus and to make me more like Jesus at the same time.
In my Bible study with my roommates, we just started reading Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline and the first chapter is about meditation. I have been reading through Exodus for the past week now, and I was struck by a verse that I have been trying to meditate on. Exodus begins with Moses' birth and some background on the Israelites' situation in Egypt. Since the death of Joseph at the end of Genesis, the Israelites have been in Egypt for about 400 years and have become long-standing slaves of Pharaoh. Their legacy in Egypt now includes centuries of oppression, and it probably feels as if there is no escape. Meanwhile, Moses is born, and his life is perserved by the hand of God, even though Pharaoh is killing all the male infants of the Israelite people. He grows up living among the Egyptians, but one day kills an Egyptian for attacking one of the Israelite slaves, and then he flees from Egypt, fearing for his life. In the next chapter (3), about forty years have passed since Moses fled from Egypt, and he is called to be God's servant at the burning bush, with instructions to go back to Egypt and lead his people away from their life of slavery and into God's Promised Land. However, there is this strange little interlude in Scripture between Moses fleeing Egypt in chapter 2, and being called to return to Egypt four decades later in chapter 3, and it's this strange part of the text that really stood out to me this week. In Exodus 2:23-25 it says:
"During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Issac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel,
-- and God knew."
I have been meditating on the final part of that verse this week... "and God knew." How many times have I felt like the Israelites? God, I need rescue. God, I feel trapped. God, I am calling out to You. God, I know we are called to suffer with Christ, but is there any escape, Lord? The Israelites had been suffering for 400 years. Even after Moses was born, God's chosen servant to lead the Israelites to freedom, he didn't actually come to free the Israelites until he was 80 years old. But the truth of the matter is - God knew. He remembered his covenant with his people, and he was waiting for the perfect time to display his power to them. He was waiting for the perfect time to write his story of freedom and redemption. He was waiting for the perfect time to write the perfect Old Testament analogy of the freedom from the slavery of sin we find in Christ, and the hope of one day resting in the Promised Land (heaven!) with our Savior. Even when the Israelites were making bricks and crying out to God and it seemed like nothing was happening - God knew. He knows and loves his children. He is never absent. During those times when I feel like I am just waiting to see God's hand and struggling to have faith, I have to trust that God knows. It might not be His time to act, but he knows me, he loves me, he is never absent in my struggles. My God knows. And I can take comfort in that.
*It's so exciting to look back on this post a year and a half after writing it and see how God has answered so many of my prayers. Micah and I are happily married. I am in grad school getting my PhD. We have pleasant apartment in Arizona and are looking buy our first house. God is so good. He knew. He knows.
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