Snapshots: Day 66
The Snapshot: “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” (Ex 16:3) As we said, the desert brings out the worst in us. Present trials as a Christian make us question what is going on. We don’t know about the future, we only know about the present and the past, and we wrongly view that past. The enemy asks us, was it really that bad back there? Would you have been better off not becoming a Christian? How present (and sometimes ongoing) pains and fears (and lies of the enemy) distort the truth. The truth is I was a mess back there. The truth is God offered me a straw to grab hold of, and I grabbed it and was transformed. I may not understand the present and how it may yet work out, but I need to remind myself of the realities of the past. Forgive us Lord when we lose it.
Further Consideration: This verse challenges us to think through more thoroughly what was the first of the means of overcoming in the previous study. Put most simply, it is be realistic about your past. Now that has various aspects. In line with what is going on here, don’t play down what life used to be like before you came to Christ.
Now there is a danger that some of us should face, that of childhood conversions. I have heard various Christians who came to Christ as a child, almost bemoan the fact that they have not known a life of sin from which they were delivered; they do not appreciate the awfulness of the life without Christ because they have almost never known it. The answer just has to be, well be grateful for that!
But then there is the temptation the enemy lays before us when we are going through times (trials) to look at nearby non-Christians who appear to be sailing through life without the same difficulties we often appear to have. However, many live in a constant state of tension and stress, on the edge of constant hostility with their partners and kids, worrying about work, and often on the edge of depression. The truth is that they are living in a Christ-less existence where they have no one to turn to for help, no resource to draw upon, and no hope for the future. Grasp something of how terrible that is.
There is another aspect of all this to be considered, that of the misplaced and misunderstood hopes as a Christian. Perhaps we came to Christ and went through a glorious time of every prayer being answered, every blessing being received – and then it got harder. Why? God wanted you to grow up and part of growing is learning to cope with life in a fallen world where we show what can be the way through as we walk hand in hand with Christ, where we learn to offload to Him (see Phil 4:6,7), and we learn to receive His grace (2 Cor 12:9) for any and every circumstance, holding this right perspective.