“When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. ‘What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?’” Exodus 14:5
As the story goes, afterwards, Pharaoh gathered 600 chariots, chased Moses and the Israelites into a dead end, and it took a last-minute miracle to get the good guys out of a tough jam. If I were Moses, I would have been extremely frustrated with God.
“Let’s see…I’ve done everything I’ve been told to do. For the record, this included conversing with a shrub, picking up a snake by the tail, and telling a man with the power to annihilate me that my God is going to kill his firstborn. Afterwards, the minute it seems we have been delivered, the same idiot that just went through 10 plagues for not listening to me is now sending a giant army to wipe us all out unless we walk between two giant walls of water that could come crashing down at any time. Am I only one that finds that a tad ridiculous? If God is so powerful, why aren’t things any easier?”
As much as one would think the obedience of Moses deserved a break from constant turmoil, God rewarded him by destroying the Egyptians and then making him lead a bunch of grumpy, ungrateful people into the wilderness for 40 years. Yes, the Lord was faithful to fulfill His promises to Moses, yet He often had a penchant for stepping in at the eleventh hour to save the day.
Where else do we see God showing up in that eleventh hour in Scripture? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego might have something to say about that. As for their buddy, Daniel? Check. I seem to also remember the apostle Paul being in prison, Samson in chains, and King Saul chasing David relentlessly to kill him purely out of spite and jealousy.
When we go through trials that pale in comparison to being thrown in a furnace or spending a night in a lion’s den, we freak out and question if He cares or listens. We suddenly forget that He’s the same God in EVERY way.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, I was recently in a very bleak situation at work. I’ve consistently been a top seller in my insurance office, and in January, I made more money than I’ve ever made in my life. Just as I was getting ready to have “Certified Baller” printed on my business cards, I experienced a February and March for the record books—and not in a good way. It tested my patience, understanding, and faith.
Nothing made sense. I worked hard, I was faithful in my giving, and I woke up every day and said, “I trust you God!” I felt like I was doing my part yet I couldn’t sell an insurance policy to save my life. After several weeks, frankly, I wanted to ask God if He was even paying attention. To top it all off, I work in a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately?” environment and I was told I was essentially on track to get fired.
During weeks of wondering if I would have a way of providing for myself, it completely escaped me that perhaps all this was happening as a way to teach me something in the process. Management told me, in not so many words, that if I didn’t hit certain goals, I would be let go the following week. I didn’t hit those goals and I returned to the office afterwards fully expecting to get my pink slip. I felt a big lump in my throat the afternoon my boss called me into his office. This was going to be the worst day ever.
“Brandon, I want to talk you about an opportunity that just came up.”
It turns out that same day, a crazy “coincidence” occurred. A girl in a position that very rarely turns over quit. The position pays more, is less stressful, provides more job security, and is the envy of every insurance agent in our company. Instead of posting it for interview, my boss offered it to me on the spot. Instead of being fired, I was promoted.
God showed up in the eleventh hour and all I originally asked for was to keep my job. He gave me something even bigger and better than I ever expected.
As you walk through the fires of the stress and pressure life provides, be mindful that it is designed to strengthen your faith. God is faithful to His promises and his reward might not show up when or how we expect, but it will be greater than we can ever imagine.
*Photo credit: ZachKlein