God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but my name, LORD, I did not make myself known to them. – Exodus 6:2-3
The seminary journey often leads to days (or months) of trudging through mental mud. Following God’s leading to learn more about him and his Word seems to guarantee unexpected circumstances, emotions, and conflicts that may tempt us to harden our emotions or give up the journey altogether.
My family and I are emotionally and spiritually muddy right now. We are near the end of my husband’s seminary course work and looking forward to graduation. We see the calendar flipping towards next May’s celebration, but we still don’t see God’s provision, his direction, and his timing in what the next steps are (or even how to pay next month’s rent).
In addition, God is allowing our young son to suffer through an autoimmune disease that causes him daily pain. In these days, we keep reminding each other: it is when we sludge through the mud of circumstances, that we gain more strength for what’s ahead and learn to lean on God. As we know, ministry life beyond seminary is often filled with more trekking than sitting in stillness. Seminary is preparation for other trails of perseverance—but we still grow weary.
This morning I read through the plagues story found in Exodus 1-12. The Lord reminded me several things that may encourage each of us to persevere, even when faced with a messy, muddy trail rather a smooth clear path.
God’s power is supreme. At first, the magicians in Egypt replicated the signs God gave Moses to perform (like the staff into snakes and water into blood). God granted Moses these powers to show that the LORD sent him to deliver the people from Pharaoh. Then God brought forth gnats, which the magicians could not copy (Exodus 8:18). Even powerful dark magic cannot compete with the power of the great I AM. God is more powerful than anyone or anything.
God has the power to heal our loved ones, provide for our needs, and even bring us into the next land where He has planned for us to dwell.
God is LORD of all creation. God alone created the world. God alone has control to send hail on the Egyptians and not on the Israelites (Exodus 9:18-26). God alone can change all the dust of the field into gnats (Exodus 8:16).
God also supplies all provision, jobs, connections, strength, and truth for us to lean on. We must not depend on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) or in our own abilities. God is in control of all of it.
God is able to do anything. Come on, send hail to destroy all the plants, people, and livestock left outside? Turn dust into a pestilence of boils? Sweep through and take the breath of every first born of the Egyptians? Of course He can provide for our needs, grant us wisdom in our steps, and help us worship Him with our lives when he can perform crazy miracles and plagues.
The trail may seem uncertain, but one thing is certain: God is in control and is able to do anything. So, when the bills pile, tuition is due, family is sick, jobs are unsure, and the trial leaves us slogging through the mud of life, let’s remember that the God who delivered the Israelites is the God we serve. As we fear Him (reverent awe and worship), He will lead us through our own path. Ease of passage is not guaranteed, but we do hold to the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
God reveals himself to us at the LORD when we see him at work. I am thankful for muddy situations where we need to lean on him.
How have you seen God provide for you on your faith journey towards seminary? If you are in seminary, how have you seen God at work? Please leave a comment.