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.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
…The Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Numbers 16:2-15 (selected portions)
Have you ever put yourself in Moses’s shoes? Can you imagine standing before 600,000 men and telling them that God would provide meat for all of them to eat?
A similar encounter is recorded in Numbers 11 when Moses is instructed to tell the people that God will send enough meat to feed them for a month. His response in Numbers (despite having seen God provide meat once before) is similar to what I would imagine myself saying.
“Really, God? You want me to go out there in front of all those people and tell them that you are going to provide meat for all of them? What kind of fool do you think I am? If I tell them that, I will lose all credibility with them. They will never again listen to anything I have to say. Then, we will be wandering out here with no leadership. I never wanted this job to start with.”
But God comes back with a simple reply:
The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
And guess what? God provided so much quail for the people that they ate until they were sick of meat!
Have you ever really contemplated some of the things that God asked people in the Bible to do? He asked Moses to tell the people that He would provide quail—which He did. He told Noah to build an ark to save himself and his family from the flood He would send on the earth—which He did. He told Abraham that He would be the father of many nations, that He would provide an heir for him in his old age—which He did. He told Joshua to follow His directions and He would bring down the walls of Jericho—which He did. He told Gideon to take only 300 men to defeat the Midianites—which He did. He told the disciples to feed 5000 men with only five loaves and two fish—which He did.
The common thread in all of these heroes of the faith is that they must have felt ridiculous, as if they were crazy to believe that God would do what He was telling them He would do. There must have been a sense of anxiety, the thought that their very reputation was on the line. What happens if God doesn’t come through? I will look like a complete idiot.
In every single instance, God was faithful to do what He said He would do. Perhaps He didn’t always do it the way they expected it, or when they expected it. But He was always faithful to His word.
I find myself in a very similar situation. God has told me that He is going to do something big, something that seems completely impossible at this moment. I have been clinging to faith for so long. I kept these things tucked inside my heart for over a year, but I finally began to tell a few trusted friends what God has said to me. Then, it all fell apart. I find myself wondering how I could be so foolish. How could I mistake my desires for God’s voice?
The truth is that I haven’t. I have tested the voices. I have repeatedly heard the same message, over and over for two and a half years. It took me over a year to accept that the voice was God, nearly another year to finally reach a place of peace that it would really happen.
Then, it all crashed—at least in my eyes.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
While I am currently in the middle of a crisis of belief, I know that God is doing an amazing work. As I dig through scripture, I see all of the heroes of faith being faced with a crisis of belief. God never told them He would do something small or insignificant; it was always something that was humanly impossible.
That’s how He gets the glory.
If it is humanly possible, does it require faith? If it is humanly possible, does He get the glory? If it is humanly possible, does it build us into stronger, more mature Christians? If it is humanly possible, can it be used to build the faith of those who hear the story?
God always has a greater plan. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I don’t understand what God is doing in my life right now, but I know that He is still at work. I know that what seems like an end to my dream is far from it. After all, God is in the resurrection business. He can resurrect our hopes, our dreams, our lives from what appears to be impossible situations. Those are the ones He loves the best! Let’s face it, God likes to show up and show off!
While I am struggling to cling to faith that God will still do what He told me He will do—that He will resurrect my promise from the dead—I am keenly aware that He is building an unshakeable faith in me. I have a sense that when He fulfills His promise to me, my faith will be deeper than an ocean, my trust without borders. When He fulfills His promise to me, I will be prepared for the work He has ahead of me, to fulfill His purpose for my life. When He fulfills His promise, my faith will be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-5).
Lord Jesus, while my heart is breaking, I trust you. I believe that you can do the impossible, that you can resurrect my dream from the grave. I believe that you want to build my faith as only you can, through the process of trials and tribulations. I believe that You are the God of promises, that none of your promises has ever—or will ever—fail. I believe that you will never fail me.