Lead Me, Guide Me

Blog for Thursday, March 19, 2020
     For those of you who have been reading through the Bible with me this year, we finished the book of Deuteronomy yesterday. The final chapters record Moses preparing the Israelites for their new life in the Promised Land. Moses and God’s people had spent forty years wandering around in the Sinai wilderness. Forty years of dodging venomous snakes and scorpions. Forty years of scorching days and frigid nights. Those wilderness days seemed like they would never end.
     Yet, rather than reflecting upon the hardships, Moses chose to bless God who faithfully had stood with God’s people. Speaking of Israel as God’s child, Moses declared:
“He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him,
cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest,
and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up and bears them
aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him….”  Deuteronomy 32:10-12, NRSV
     Everywhere the people went, God met them where they were. God made sure they had what they needed. Through every grueling step they took, God’s people learned how much they had to rely on him.
     You see, the wilderness experience is never for naught. The wilderness is not a time to just get through. The wilderness can be our greatest teacher if we are humble enough to learn.
     To be certain, the Promised Land was worth fighting for. It was worth the struggle. Yet the way there stretched Israel’s faith and compelled her to lean upon God as though their lives depended upon it.
     You and I are traveling through our own wilderness experience as I speak. The COVID-19 Virus has brought us to a time of great uncertainty. A few of you have lost work. Others of you cannot visit a loved one in the hospital or in a healthcare center. The news of an impending recession brings all of us some measure of anxiety.
     This is the kind of circumstance in which many ask, “Where is God?” If you could ask Moses this question, he would tell you that God is closer than you realize. And, the promise of a future and a hope that God granted to the Israelites holds true for you, as well. The wilderness is temporary. This, too, shall pass. And, the hope that waits on the other side is what will keep all of us moving forward.
     Even more, rather than inquiring as to where God is, I encourage you to take the opportunity to profit from this wilderness experience and ask, “What do you want me to learn from these moments?” “In what ways can I come away from this season of life better for having gone through it?”
     The eagle mentioned in the Scripture passage above is a reference as to how eaglets learn to fly. A mother eagle will use her pinions to force the eaglet out of the nest, which can lie several hundred feet above the ground. The eaglet will fall to the ground flapping its wings furiously. Yet just before striking the earth, the mother eagle catches the baby on her back, flies up to a mile in the air, and releases the eaglet back into thin air. The eaglet, once again, falls to the ground flapping its wings. And, this process of falling and flapping and catching and soaring and tipping occurs over and over, again, until the eaglet learns to fly on its own.
     It sounds like a frightening scenario for the poor baby bird. But the good news is that the mother never allows any harm to come to her child. And, though the experience harrowing, the good news is that the eaglet comes through the process with flying success!
     The wilderness can move us to fret and flap for our lives. However, with God’s grace, we are assured to soar to greater heights.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor David