Sometimes life can be hard. As a follower of Jesus, challenges will come, and we are not immune to tragedy or difficulty. When I think of Israel and their journey to the Promised Land, that time certainly was more demanding and harder than anything I have had to endure as a follower of Christ. They suffered captivity, hard labor, beatings, a lack of food and water and harsh living conditions.
When the Jews were going through their captivity in Egypt and then entering the wilderness, they must have thought that God had forgotten them. They must have thought that God was not very aware of all that was going on in their lives. Such thinking resulted in the scriptural examples we have of their complaining, murmuring and then challenging the leadership of Moses.
God’s perspective of these circumstances was very different than the Hebrews. Notice what it says in Deut. 32:10-12,
“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.”
This passage is describing Israel in Egypt (“a desert land”), and their journey to the Promised Land as one where God actually led them and carried them! In fact, the level of God’s loving leadership is the picture of an eagle stirring up its nest to push the little birds out so that they can grow and learn to fly. All the while, the eagle is constantly watching, protecting and able to intervene at any moment if the little eagles needed it. Even though the eagle was ready to catch its young, being forced out of the nest was necessary for the young eagle’s growth. The experience was terrifying but needed for them to learn to soar like eagles.
Jack Deere describes the scene as follows,
“The metaphor of the eagle speaks of God’s wise and loving parental care. As an eagle must force its young out of the nest if they are to learn to fly and fend for themselves so the LORD … led His people into the harsh life of Egyptian bondage and afterward through wilderness wanderings that they might become strong. And like an eagle, the Lord remained ready to ‘catch them’ when necessary.”
This is a great reminder of how God works in our lives as we follow Jesus. He is intimately aware of our lives, needs, and circumstances. He knows that some of the journeys we are each on will be very challenging. He allows those challenges for our growth. When I encounter difficult times, I must not assume that He does not care and then start complaining as the Jews did in the Wilderness. Instead, I must trust Him, pray to him, yield to His leadership and then walk faithfully in obedience. God can use all things to work together for good when they are considered as a whole (Rom. 8:28-29).
Father, thank you for your loving care. Thank you that you know all that is going on in my life. You are leading and guiding me and able to intervene at any time if you think it is necessary. Help me to walk faithfully in dependence upon you especially when circumstances would tell me to do otherwise. Thank you that you care enough about me that you want to help me become more like Jesus over time.
Following Jesus with you,