Oh, those ungrateful Israelites. Shame on them!
Almighty God sent incredible plagues to thwart the Egyptians and split the Red Sea in two. He provided a way so His chosen people could leave the chains of slavery behind and enter the Promised Land. And still they grumbled and murmured against Him. I can practically hear them whining now: “We’re tiiiiiiired. We’re huuuuungryyyyy. This is awwwwwful. Are we theeeerrrre yet??”
Their lack of faith was not without consequence; the Lord sent deadly serpents to attack them. When they turned back to God and prayed for relief, He provided a way out. Only those who looked upon the bronze saraph mounted on a pole by Moses survived the serpents’ deadly attacks.
Yes. It’s easy for me to shake my head in disbelief at the immature and clueless Israelites. They grew weary and impatient and frustrated and doubted that God was making a way for them not only to survive, but to thrive.
Yet, if I’m honest with myself, am I any better than the grumbliest of grumblers in the desert?
Here I am, living in a time when the coming of the long-awaited Messiah is not just a far-off promise, but a present reality. I can encounter my Heavenly Father in the Sacraments, Scripture, prayer, and community. He provides everything I need for salvation. And still, I doubt. When things get ugly or the path ahead is unclear, I wonder if God can really lead me through my own messy wilderness into His own marvelous light.
Fear, doubt, anxiety—these are the chains that weigh me down and keep me from fixing my eyes on Jesus and the ultimate Good News of that old, rugged Cross. My sin and weakness prevent me from living the truth that communion with Him is everything I want and need—that He truly is I AM.
Anytime we see a crucifix or pray the Stations of the Cross is another opportunity to remember God’s unrelenting faithfulness to us and His abiding compassion and merciful love. In His death at Calvary, we remember that The Great “I AM” took on human flesh to break the chains of fear, doubt, worry, sin, and death so that you and I may live through Him, with Him, and in Him forever.
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Today, let us gaze upon the Cross as we pray: Lord Jesus, I believe You love me unconditionally. I believe You are everything I need and desire. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Amen.
Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.