When God Makes Things Worse
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So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all." (Ex. 5:22-23)
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God had sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. But Pharaoh didn't appreciate the intrusion into his affairs, and instead made the Israelites' burden heavier. What was supposed to be a rescue mission turned into a debacle. Moses looked like an idiot before his people, and God lost the respect of those who had put their trust in Him. Even Moses questioned God's competence.
Read the rest of the story, however, and it becomes clear that God knew exactly what he was doing. Pharaoh's intransigence was painful in the short term, but it set up a showdown between the most powerful earthly ruler of his day and the God of a nation of slaves. God eventually won that battle, proving once and for all who was in charge. When Israel finally crossed the Red Sea as a free people, there was no doubt in their minds how they got there. Israel's initial disillusionment was merely a stepping stone toward a greater victory.
As Christians, it's easy for us to slip into a mode of thinking that because we serve God, God will make life easier for us. That's not the way this relationship works. We are but small pieces in a much larger plan that God is working out, a plan that is far more complex and mysterious than we can imagine. His plan includes any number of dark passages through which we must pass. The pain that we experience in those moments does not cancel the ultimate glory toward which God is patiently moving.
On those days when it seems like God's promises come up short and you've been hung out to dry, remember the story of Moses and Israel groaning under Pharaoh's whip. They couldn't see it yet, but their best days were before them. God was not making life worse for them; He was preparing them for the most glorious day of their lives.
He's doing the same for you, too. Don't quit! Keep on trusting Him to finish what He has started in you.