'When we're stuck'

Saturday Reflection

22nd August 2020

'as they wandered through the desert'

3 "And the LORD spoke to me [Moses], saying,

3 'You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north,

   ... Deuteronomy 2:2-3

We all get into messes in our lives;
financial messes, relationship messes, health messes,
home messes, business messes, emotional messes.
Messes leave us feeling trapped
as though we're stranded in a place of upheaval
and uncertainty forever.

I'm sure that's how the people of Israel felt
as they wandered through the desert.
Stuck in a mess with no end in sight.
Their story can be found in the book of Exodus;
God had miraculously set the Israelites free
from captivity in Egypt
but their unwillingness to fully trust him
and their blatant refusal to occupy the Promised Land
left them in quite a mess;
a 40 year wandering in the wilderness mess.

Thankfully in the book of Deuteronomy we discover
their story isn't over.
Change was coming and the children of the Israelites,
originally freed from Pharaoh's domination,
are finally allowed to take possession
of the land God had promised them at the start.
But before they could move forward,
Moses had everyone pause and look back.

He knows he's not going to be with them,
so he wanted them to recognise,
and be sure in their minds,
of the faithfulness of God along their journey.

Moses reminded them of a time when they'd been stuck,
circling round and round the mountain for far too long.
God had spoken to them,
telling them that it was time to move on -
to head in a new direction.

2 "And the LORD spoke to me [Moses], saying,
3 'You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north,"
   ... Deuteronomy 2:2-3

It was a pivotal moment for them to remember;
one where they faced life changing choices.
They could stay stuck,
endlessly circling the same old place,
or they could trust in God
and head in a new direction guided by him.
They could turn north.

Is there anywhere we need to 'turn north' in our lives?

Have we been circling the same messes for years with no end in sight?
Are there areas in our lives
where we know we need to change
but feel it would require too much effort and sacrifice?

There's a question we can ask ourselves
while we're right in the middle of our messes.

Am I letting this mess define me or refine me?

The answer to this question is key.
If the answer is,
'define me' we will feel hopeless.
If the answer is 'refine me' we can feel hopeful.

The Israelites looked at their 40 years of aimless wandering
and realised they were rebellious failures,
disobeying God, losing hope and going round in circles.
They re-assessed their lives
and their needs and were able to turn around
and move towards God promises
with hope firmly planted in their hearts.

Now is the time for us to stop allowing our messes to define us;
to embrace the refining process and head north.
How do we do this?
We turn to empowering truths from God's Word.
By taking them into our hearts
they will inspire us for a new way of living.

3 'You have circled this mountain long enough.
   Now turn north,"   ... Deuteronomy 2:3

We were made for more than to be stuck
in a vicious cycle of hopelessness and defeat.
Paul, after praying to God to take away his pain,
received this answer; But he said to me,

"My grace is sufficient for you,
 for my power is made perfect in weakness."
 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
 so that Christ's power may rest on me.
    2 Cor. 12:9

We don't have to worry about letting God down
because we were never holding him up in the first place -
God's grace is sufficient.

May we hear God's voice,
filled with grace and free of condemnation,
say to us today,

"It's time to turn north.

If we do, may we turn towards him and move forward with him