I want the Lord to solve my problems and save me from the worst things I suffer. I know it’s up to me to work for these things, too; I’m trying – sometimes very hard – to do that. And yet, He does not save me from them; not in the way I think I need.
I even feel a little like the Israelites, when the king of Egypt made them gather their own straw – and from stubble, not even proper straw – to make the bricks they were tasked with, when before, they’d been given the straw. They (their ancestors) had already been made practically slaves, for no good reason. Then, when they asked the king why, he responded by telling them that now, they’d have to make the bricks without straw. It just kept getting worse! Even though Moses and Aaron had been sent to rescue them, and God had assured them it would happen. It was Pharaoh’s hardness and meanness, not God, which caused these worsenings; but God allowed it to happen. For the Israelites, it got worse before it got better.
I was thinking about this one day, and as I thought, I felt like God was saying to me that He is preparing me for an eternal world, and an eternal inheritance – and that is far more important than my earthly one. Meaning that what really matters to Him is the salvation of my soul. Other things are superfluous, although the physical necessities are important, of course, for survival. But do I have faith that God will ensure that – that I will gain those – and I can focus on the eternal inheritance I seek? Or do I think I need to make my own plans, just in case, or because I don’t see the results of His work in me? Will I be like the woman recorded in 2 Kings 6, who did a terrible thing, instead of asking the prophet for guidance and trusting in God’s purposes or providence – who, if she had waited a few days, would have had all the food she needed?
In saying this, I mean something particular. This life is very important – so important that it became a battleground for our souls. But its purpose is not to give us nice, pleasant lives, even though I so much want that! It’s to make us into creatures who can live with God, become like Him – appreciating and being able to endure goodness, glory and light. It’s to test our faith and trust, our ability to follow the Holy Spirit; to turn our characters into something pure and noble. None of those things, unfortunately, will happen through having my toughest and most frustrating problems solved for me. I know this, intellectually, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing it wasn’t so. The understanding I want to share here is that, rather than saving me from them, God will save/is saving/can save me through and despite them. But only if I keep my eye on the real issue: eternal life and the salvation of my soul. Not the solving of my problems, here and now. Ironic, but frustratingly and profoundly true.