When You Don’t Know When . . .

by Afton Rorvik

Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called place Marah (which meant “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses, “What are we going to drink?” they demanded.  Exodus 15:22-23 NLT

First they had too much water, and then they didn’t have enough.

The people of Israel had just watched God part the mighty waters of the Red Sea so they could walk through them to safety from their Egyptian pursuers. Then they had witnessed God calling the waters of the sea to regather and crash down around the Egyptians, obliterating them.

They danced and celebrated and praised the Lord.

Then three days later, they got thirsty and started whining. Did they forget that God had just parted the Red Sea for them? Did they forget that God had just rescued them from many years of Egyptian oppression? Did they get so focused on their own immediate needs that they forgot to remember God’s past provisions?

Yes, yes, and yes.

And oh, I understand. After a year of so many uncertainties, I just want some certainty. I want to know when this Covid virus will release its grip on us. I want to know when schools will reopen. I want to know when I can once again have neighbors gather around my dining room table. I want answers. I want to know when.

Like the people of Israel, I can all too easily complain about what I need and want today and not remember to thank God for the many times He showed up for me in the past in His perfectly orchestrated timing.

I forget the way He helped me find a job just weeks after my previous job ended. I forget the way He helped orchestrate the arrival of a book contract the month the pandemic began, providing me a distracting project while quarantined at home.

Lord, help me to remember!

As I read about the people of Israel, I notice how God graciously continued to remind them of His care:

Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. After breaking camp at Rephidim, they set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai.

Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:1-4 NLT).

Oh, Lord, remind me that You see and you care, that You carry me on eagles’ wings too. Help me to trust Your timing. Forgive me for whining while I wait. Help me to live grateful.

About the author: Afton Rorvik writes about living connected, something that matters deeply to her even as an introvert. In her book Storm Sisters, she talks about the power of friendship in hard times. Afton and her husband John have two adult children and love to walk and hike in Colorado. You can connect with Afton on her website, or on Facebook.

Join the conversation: What do you remember about God’s gracious care for you?

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