Friday, April 19, 2013

Does An Increase In Struggle Mean God is Absent?

Sometimes an outward intensification of struggle can happen right after we started praying into a certain area of life, or right after we hear an encouraging word from God!  Then we think...are my prayers making things worse!  Are they ineffective?  Did I hear God wrong?!

I was just reading through the story of Moses today.  Remember the story?  Moses has this life changing, miraculous experience with hearing God's voice at the burning bush.  What a deep spiritual experience.  How could you ever be the same?! God told him to tell Pharoah to release God's people from slavery.  Moses told God he didn't think that would work because he didn't feel like he was a good speaker.  He didn't feel up to the job.  God said, "I will be with you." 

So Moses goes back to Egypt and connects with his brother Aaron.  They go tell Pharoah what God said.  Pharoah's response?  Even though God was with Moses and Aaron, and they spoke His words to Pharoah, Pharoah's response was "I do not know any god by that name, and furthermore I do not intend to release Israel."  Not only did their message seem to fall to the ground, Pharoah turned around and ordered that the Israelites' work be made much harder, and the Israelite supervisors were beaten. 

The Israelite supervisors came to Moses and Aaron; They yelled at the two of them for making things worse!  "May the Eternal see and judge what you have done. Now because of you Pharaoh and all who serve him look on us as if we were some kind of disgusting odor. You might as well have put the sword in their hands they will use to kill us."

Moses likely thought something like this, "What on earth just happened?  I heard from God.  I was afraid this wouldn't work...wouldn't be a good idea.  God said, 'I will be with you' and now this!"  Scripture records Moses' words at the end of Exodus chapter 6: "And why have You sent me here? Ever since I approached Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done more harm to them than ever before."

Sometimes prayers and actions are so effective, that huge environments begin to shift.  Miracles begin to take form.  Oppression that has been in place for 430 years begins to crack.  And life looks harder.  But then...after the struggle...freedom.  Sometimes the increase in hardship as you pray means you are praying into the right things...oppressions that have been long established and refuse to leave.  Sometimes the increase in struggle is a sign of how powerful your prayers are and how much Pharoah resists the proclamation of freedom, a sign of how miraculous the final freedom will be!  When struggle comes, don't stop praying.  Freedom is coming.  You will know wide open spaces.  God is with you...

(All scripture is taken from The Voice translation: Exodus Chapter 6)