Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Clinging to Our Circumstances

Some days, it seems like I'm trapped in an inescapable cycle that will only end when this life passes away.  For a time, things seem better.  Then, there is a settling of accounts, and I find myself walking in the same fossilized footprints from twelve months ago. Nothing had really changed.

"I just don't know what to do," I say, head lowered in defeat.

"There is nothing to do," my husband responds.  "God has taken care of us so far.  There's nothing to 'do' but trust He will continue this next year."

These are the times when I must choose to not let my emotions overrule what I know.  I can choose to feel trapped by my circumstances.  They can enslave me to living in fear or in defeat if I allow them to. Or I can choose a different path.

When I look back into Scripture, I see the children of Israel trapped as slaves in Egypt.  Literally.  There was no way out, or at least there seemed to be no escape from their oppression.  Ultimately, they did the only thing they could do: cry out to God:

"Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them" (Ex. 2:23-25).

This passage records two simple steps: (1) They cried out.  (2) God heard them.  The second step did not come about without the Israelites reaching the end of their own striving.  Only when they came to the end of themselves did they cry out to God, asking Him to provide a way out.

And God did hear and answer, sending Moses who spoke a message of deliverance to the Israelites: "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments...I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession" (Ex. 6:6,8). 

God would answer the Israelites' cries for help by redeeming them from their circumstances, but He wanted them to know He would do so because of the covenant He had established with their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God was communicating to this broken people that their redemption was sure because He had made a promise, which He would now fulfill because He is a covenant-keeping God.

The sad thing is the children of Israel did not believe the words.  Their bondage was so all-consuming that they were enslaved to it even once God had offered them a way out. Even with the promise of God's help--which they had asked for and were receiving--the children of Israel still clung to their bondage, to their circumstances, instead of to the covenant and God's promise.

Scripture says, "So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage" (Ex. 6:9).

This begs the question of us--if we have called out to God in the midst of our circumstances, what are we clinging to? God has promised He will never leave nor forsake us.  He has promised all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.  He has promised eternal life for those who live by faith in Him.  Yet, are we continuing to cling to our circumstances? To our bondage?  Or are we clinging to God's promises of redemption?

It's all too easy to cling to what we feel, to cling to what our circumstances are even if those are the very things we are begging God to help us escape from.  We cling with clenched hands because it's often hard to see beyond the here and now and simply let. go.

Still, like Moses, God has spoken words of victory over us.  He has called us to walk by faith in that victory, believing the promises He has given us in His Word and believing in Him as a God who never breaks His covenant promises.  Those are our two choices.

Image: Roots clinging to life in Nova Scotia.


  1. Wow. Did I ever need this today. I read Psalm 90-91 this morning and prayed for the redemption and specifically that the Lord would satisfy us with His mercy. Now that's no small task, but after reading this, I am definitely encouraged to hang onto His promise. It's His covenant word. Funny. I wrote in the voice of Ricky Ricardo in my journal, "That's a seriously bodl statement and so You've got some serious 'splainin' to do!" Now, I just need to hang onto this hope and this promise! Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. Just so you know, I posted your intro and link to your blog on mine this afternoon. Thank you again.