WHEN LIFE STINKS, OUR PERSPECTIVE SHRINKS
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…”
—Exodus 3:7-8 (NIV)
God’s chosen people were enslaved in miserable bondage and were crying out to Him in their suffering. God speaks to Moses about it at the burning bush and reveals His sustaining care for His people.
First of all, they were in Egypt because God cared for them. He rescued the Israeli nation from death by famine during the time of Joseph who himself was rescued from injustice and suffering to bring a solution to the coming famine crisis. This saved both the Israeli and the Egyptian nations. But a Pharaoh came along in time who did not know about Joseph and chose to persecute the growing Israeli population because of his fear of them.
In this situation, they were not forgotten by the God of their fathers. Though for a wise reason, He delayed appearing in their behalf for several hundred years, yet He was not indifferent to their sufferings. Every tear they shed was preserved and every groan they uttered was recorded as a testimony against their oppressors. Only God sees the beginning from the end. We are time-bound creatures and as problems arise, our perspective becomes diminished. African-American preachers articulate it this way: “When life stinks, our perspective shrinks!”
Years earlier God spoke to Father Abram in his sleep: “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there…In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:13, 16). In this situation, God reveals His plan to Abram ahead of time and explains the “why.” He does not always do this, but from this example, we learn we can trust His Father-heart.
So today we pray for persecuted church members who are suffering severely from Satan’s tactics of deceit and intimidation: loss of family members (Nigeria), economic deprivation (India), incarceration in metal shipping containers (Eritrea), lack of personal peace (Pakistan), fear of discovery (Middle East). As we pray, we can rest in the fact that they (and we) are part of God’s wise and caring plan, no matter how inscrutable that plan may appear to human eyes. There is hope because He hears the cry; He sees the misery; He is concerned about the suffering. When it seems dark and hopeless, the persecuted testify “God is good—all the time!”
RESPONSE: I will live in the light of God’s loving care and view my problems from His perspective.
PRAYER: Pray that persecuted believers will trust God and not suffer from shrunken perspectives.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.