Most of the time my daycare children are very happy to arrive at my door, with a whole day of fun ahead of them. But one day last week, for whatever reason, two of my little girls were distraught from the moment they arrived. (It could have been the color of the socks they were wearing, or the fact their favorite shirt was in the wash. Important, life-altering events for toddlers.)
When this happens, I use my best “we’re-going-to-have-so-much-fun-today-voice” and try to coax a smile from my kiddos. I tell them about all the great activities I have planned for the day, pull out some special toys, and share what goodies I’m cooking up for lunch. (When all else fails, the food thing usually works.)
One of the girls settled down and began to enjoy the day, but the other just kept on wailing. They both heard my words; one believed me, and one didn’t.
What was the difference?
One could see past her tears and crying long enough to believe my promises.
But one couldn’t see past her pain to believe what I was saying to her.
This happened to Moses when he gave the Israelites the seven great “I will” promises of God in Exodus 6.
I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
I will rid you out of their bondage.
I will redeem you with a stretched out arm.
I will take you to be my people.
I will be your God.
I will bring you to the land I promised.
I will give it to you for a heritage.
Wonderful, amazing promises! God promised to deliver them and bring them to an abundant land. He would be their God, and they would be His special people. He would redeem all those years of sorrow.
But how did the Israelites respond to these promises?
They didn’t listen to Moses because of their “anguish of spirit” and the “cruel bondage” they were enduring (Exodus 6:9). They were in so much pain they simply could not believe the promises of God.
This can happen to us as Christians. We know the promises of God; we’ve read them in the pages of Scripture for ourselves.
We know God has promised to provide our needs, but we can’t see past the pile of bills to the fulfillment of that promise.
We know our Heavenly Father has promised to never leave us or forsake us, but we feel so alone.
We know God has promised that joy will come in the morning, but we don’t think we can make it through the night.
We know the promises, but we are in so much pain we can’t see through our tears to believe them.
So what is the answer? How can we see through the tears and the pain long enough to grab hold of the promises of God?
It’s all a matter of where we choose to look.
We must make a deliberate choice to look up–up past the problems, up past the pain, up past the impossibilities–to our Almighty God Whose infinite power can move heaven and earth.
The Israelites doubted the words of Moses and the promises of God until they looked up to see what God was doing in the land of Egypt. They saw the mighty country destroyed before their eyes. They saw Pharaoh’s cruel arm of oppression weaken until he not only allowed them to leave, he begged them to go.
Only when they looked up to see what God had done to their enemies, did they have enough faith to believe God and follow Moses out of the land of Egypt.
My friend, if you’re in a place of discouragement, a place of pain, or a place of fear today, I encourage you to look up.
Look up to the God Who has always been there for you in the past, and Who will always be there for you in the future.
Look through your tears and believe God’s promises. He’s not going to let you down.
“Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians…And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” Exodus 14:30-31
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Psalm 42:5