Not that I’m poetic, but…….here’s a thought I just had – literally seconds ago in response to a social media post. My original remark was, “It’s ok to say no to that to which you do not wish to return – unless you enjoy the torture of the prison you build for yourself. And it’s okay if it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world. #live-free #live-with-passion-not-condemnation.” A good friend of my responded, “Egypt is what God called it to me & and another I know.”
Upon reading her response, I remembered the story of the Israelites and how God brought them out of Egypt with His mighty hand. Yet even through deliverance, they still found complaint with God – as though the freedom He offered weren’t enough. Now before you go wagging your finger at them, take a long and hard look at yourself in the mirror. You and I – we do the same thing. Like we’re never satisfied – as though it were really about us all the time. God, however, is gracious and longsuffering. He is not deterred by our childishness.
Ponder this verse – the reaction of the people upon being delivered from Egypt and finding themselves in the desert. “The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Ex. 16.3
Perhaps the thing in us that leads to death needs to be starved to death and the only way it can happen is in the desert time. I believe God is strategic. God leads me to life and fullness, but how can I have room in my heart for the things of God, if I keep longing for the “sweets” of the world? They never satisfy anyway. It is God’s grace, I think, to not give us what we “think” we really want. It is His grace when we find ourselves in the desert place stripped of all we used to humanly rely on. In the desert I learn He is all I need. In the desert I learn, that the very thing God wants to crucify in me is the very thing from which I must be set free that I might have abundant life in Christ. In the desert, God can show me the bondage I clinged to. Yes, in the desert my sight is clearly restored, and I can see things from God’s perspective.
If Christ is to be enough, then other worldly affections must be starved to death. If they are not, then my appetites return to the world and remain temporarily satiated. I think I am willing to have my palate cleansed in such a way that it yearns for the eternal things of God. If that means putting to death in my flesh the yuck that woos me from the Father, then yes. Yes, I will crucify the flesh. This reminds me of what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
So today, I find it is okay to say no to that to which you do not wish to return – unless you enjoy the torture of the prison you build for yourself. And it’s okay if it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world. I prefer the freedom I am finding in Christ. It is leading to life. I don’t have to keep going back to the same old way of life, living, or even working. I’ll trust that God is doing a new thing. I’ll keep letting Him change the way I think. Just a little something to consider. Keep faithing it beloved. God is faithful.