I WONDER if THERE WILL be ENOUGH
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
NOVEMBER 20, 2011
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST
“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread.” (Ps. 37:25)
“Enough of what?” the reader may wonder. Actually, in today’s world of financial chaos from Wall Street to Main Street, it could be just about anything, from medical help to housing, employment, food and clothing, or college tuition. On the spiritual side of the ledger, it could be patience, tolerance, unconditional love, courage and of course, faith to deal with all of the above. I couldn’t get to sleep one night recently, and felt led to get up and read the end of Genesis and the account of the Exodus. As always, reading the glory of God visited on His children brought me to more trust in His perfect will and awesome power. This writing came as I was praying and meditating on the financial needs shared by a young friend of ours. Here’s what I wrote to her:
I’m very concerned about your financial situation. You are backed into a corner seemingly. My experience is that God is out to reveal Himself to us and to do so, He may put us up against the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on our heels.
I was led to reread the story of how God brought the children of Israel to Egypt, in order to deliver them from a famine which threatened them in Canaan. That miracle of provision, of course, led them eventually to being enslaved by Pharaoh, where they needed deliverance yet again. I reread the Exodus from Egypt, accomplished by God’s mighty hand. It never ceases to thrill me.
In order to show His power and reveal His glory, the Lord gave His children over to the taskmasters of Egypt; the human suffering was horrendous. This is a key issue with many today. Why does God let people suffer so much before He steps in? What does suffering have to do with anything?
To accomplish His purpose, God called Moses, who was minding his own business at the time, tending sheep on the back side of the desert. A reluctant hero certainly, and not feeling adequate to the task in spite of the miracles God used to convince him, Moses incurred God’s wrath in the process, but he finally capitulated and went back to Egypt, using Aaron as a crutch. You know the story about the ten plagues and God hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the Israelites go until God had sent the angel of death over the land, killing the first born in every household which did not have blood over the door.
This final plague broke Pharaoh’s will and he commanded Moses to get out! God had told Moses to instruct the people to borrow gold, silver and clothing from their Egyptian neighbors, which they did. Having eaten the Passover as the death angel flew over Egypt, they were warned to eat this feast of unleavened bread, “with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Ex. 12:11) God’s mandate about this feast was “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” (Ex. 12:17-18) The newly freed slaves gathered in their tribal units and under Moses’ leadership, went out of Egypt with their flocks and herds, and all their possessions. Leaving the place of bondage, suffering, lack and fear, 600,000 men plus women and children, followed Moses to the Promised Land, full of hope and joy in their freedom.
Their joy was short lived, however, when they realized that Pharaoh’s army was hot on their heels; they howled in fear, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’” (Ex. 14:10-12) This is a perfect snapshot of the human condition. When pressed by danger or extreme duress, we often collapse in a heap and give ourselves up for lost, crying “Woe is me, Woe is me.”
Moses’ words to them at this critical moment have always moved me deep in my Spirit as I have experienced some of this glory myself on a lesser scale. He said, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Vs. 13-14)
God had prepared them for the moment of His glory and He asked Moses,
“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Vs. 15-18) I would paraphrase this as “Quit your whining. I’m in charge here and I have it handled.” Been there, heard that.
Like Israel, I have often noticed that it is not until I’m desperately afraid of what will happen that God delivers me, but only after I’ve given up my struggle to save myself. Uncomfortable as it is at the time we’re going through it, the purpose of suffering is usually to convince us to surrender our will to God’s.
When He cut off our income in California, causing us to lose our credit, our business and our house, I knew by the Spirit that He wasn’t out to kill us but to show His glory in our lives. He had sufficiently shown me that He was in charge so that I never panicked during the long ordeal. I didn’t like it, but I knew who sent the situation which made all the difference.
When God brought us here in 1998, for Lenny to be a light and a witness to that group of men in the Baptist Sunday School class, we had no idea He would keep us here. Lenny’s assignment is “on hold” right now, but the Lord had another reason for bringing us here. He loves my mother very much and He knew she would need us even if she didn’t think she needed anyone. The “Sword of the Spirit” always cuts two ways, and though we struggled financially, God always provided for us, mainly with love offerings from readers.
One time, for instance, we needed to get Lenny to the Kaiser Permanente doctor in Kansas City, but the old Lincoln’s transmission went out and we had no way to get there. He took the car to the transmission shop to have it repaired. The mechanic was in the men’s Sunday School class and he gave us a huge break by only charging us $600. That was a lot of money to us, but we had a credit card and put the charge on that, something we were loathe to do.
Lenny got a ride over to pick up the car when it was finished. He had to take it for inspection in order to get the tags renewed and they found a problem in the exhaust system. That cost an additional $100 to repair.
Even as I wondered how we would EVER get it paid off, I went to the mail box and there was a check from a Glory Road reader for $700, the total amount of our debt! No one but the Lord knew of our predicament. Once more, the Holy One of Israel proved He is still taking care of the “sons of Levi.”
This was just one of the many things God did to show us that truly, we need only “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”
God is our ever present source of everything. I don’t know how, but I do know in my Spirit that what seems insurmountable to you and to me right now, will be overcome as our Abba steps in to show us His glory and His unconditional love. His purpose in our lives is being revealed and all we need do is ask Him to open our eyes to see it.
God is our protector and our provider as well. One of the names for God is El Shaddai, meaning “the many breasted one.” When we are beset by trouble, we take courage from the golden promises of scripture, like this one: “I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. 34:4) Isaiah gives us God’s golden promise to Israel, which we are spiritually: “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isa. 43:1-2) How glorious is that?
The answer to the question posed by this essay, “I wonder if there will be enough?” is YES! God keeps His promises. “For all the promises of God in Him are “yea”; and in Him “amen” unto the glory of God by us.” (II Cor. 1:20, KJV) I was compelled to get out of bed about midnight recently and look up the scripture in which God said to Abram “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very GREAT REWARD.” (Gen. 15:1) That God called Himself a “great reward” has always struck me as awesome since by that time, “Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” (Gen. 13:2) We may look at our pantry, our bank account, our vehicle, our wardrobe, or our living quarters, and think “It’s not enough,” but when HE opens our eyes to see that we have the Living God, the Most High as our shield and buckler, our provider, the lover of our soul, we can relax knowing that somehow, someway, probably when we least expect it, He will come through for us and we will see that the ordeal was for our good and His glory.
Father, we fall on our faces before you in worship as we contemplate the blessings of provision and freedom from the slavery that fear binds upon us. We know that You depend not upon us, but upon the strength of Your own right arm to accomplish Your perfect will, and You cannot fail. You cover our fears with Your unconditional love and reveal Your glory in us and through us. May your Light shine through us to dispel the darkness in us and through us to those we meet. Amen.