May 1

by Scott Campbell

We Forget…
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
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.”

Exodus 16:2-3
As the Israelites were being led out of slavery into the land of milk and honey, they were often times ungrateful and turned their backs on God. It seems ridiculous to think that a people, newly delivered from Egyptian oppression, would long to return to the land of their slavemasters. It is ridiculous to us because we know the final outcome. Yes, God’s people needed to learn many lessons on the way, but what a glorious season when they finally arrived! As I read through the Old Testament, I noticed that this was but one demonstration of a pattern of behavior that is seen all throughout Scripture. God rains down blessings on His people and they get complacent. Or they think that any trial or inconvenience is unfair. They complain and they demand better. They turn to man or even pagan gods for solutions. Over and over they forget how good God is and I just couldn’t make sense of it.
So, as I have learned to do when the Bible repeats itself, I turned my examination from the people that I was reading about to myself. And that’s when it became clear that these stories are my story as well. I was blessed to find a relationship with God at a young age and He has blessed my life in so many amazing and beautiful ways. But through it all I rarely, if ever, gave Him credit. Even though I was a hand-picked child of the Most High, I rarely, if ever, gave Him praise. When faced with an uncomfortable situation or problem I would seek worldly wisdom or, even worse, rely on my own understanding. Like the Israelites in Exodus, I would only turn to God out of desperation. I would forget what God can do because I would forget what God had done. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable dilemma I would quickly forget the long story of God’s deliverance and provision on my behalf. I would grumble and complain and, like the Israelites, delay my blessing.
Living this last month in the season of COVID-19, it can be tempting to fall back into those patterns. It can become easy to forget. Like most people, I am not a big fan of either change or inconvenience. I have grown quite comfortable with my life here in San Jose. I have a routine that is filled with friends and socialization. I have favorite restaurants and venues that I enjoy. It would be easy for me to focus on the negative and feel sorry for myself because all of that has changed, but then I would be ignoring the lessons of Scripture. Today, I choose to see the positive in all of this. It can be difficult at times, but here are my favorite:

  1. I call and check in on my family and friends far more than I used to. My hope is that, when this is all over, this sticks as a habit. Far too often I would go months without talking to people that I genuinely love because of the busyness of life.
  2. I am learning how to trust God more than ever. Romans 5:3 tells us that troubles produce endurance, that endurance produces character, and that character produces hope. This is the perfect opportunity for our hope to grow.
  3. As our hope grows, we can share it with non-believers. In times like this, so many people are looking for the hope that we have in Christ.

My hope as I write this is that we embrace the lessons, opportunities and the relationships that will arise from the situation we are in and use it for the glory of God. I am personally trying my best to stay positive and avoid complaining. I am looking to God for my comfort and sustenance. At my worst, I still worry. But at my best, I have full faith and confidence that our God can and will work this all for the good of His people…as long as we don’t forget to let Him.

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