“11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-13
“How’s it going?”
The reality is that we could complain, but we know we shouldn’t. We all have so much more to be thankful for than we have things to complain about, but we all know people who seem to complain about everything. Even the most upbeat among us find ourselves grumbling at times. It is hard to trust God when things in our lives seem to be falling apart. We come into situations with expectations and when those expectations are not met how will we respond? Will be trust God and respond with faith or will we let bitterness take root in our lives and become grumblers and complainers?
1 Corinthians 10 is instructive for us. God’s Word reminds us that what is happening in our lives is not all about us. God is doing something in and through the individual situations of our lives that we can’t fully understand in the moment. The occasions when the Israelites faced disappointments in the wilderness were tests for them, but they also had a second purpose—they were recorded as examples for us. But examples of what?
They were examples of the folly of failing to trust the goodness and the sovereignty of God. We have the luxury of reading the story of the Exodus far removed the physical difficulty of the actual historical trial. Our perspective allows us to marvel at the utter foolishness of doubting God so soon after he had proven himself faithful. In Exodus 14 God parted the waters and delivered the people. In Exodus 15 the people celebrate in joyous song, and by Exodus 16 they are complaining against Moses and doubting God’s plan for them.
We are meant to see the utter foolishness of the situation. We are meant to see the unquestioned goodness of God. We are meant to see the devastating consequences of bitterness and complaining. These things were recorded for us to see and take warning. We are not at the center of the human story—God is. But that doesn’t mean that God has forgotten about us. God is working in ways that achieve purposes far beyond the scope of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that his works do not take us into account. That is part of the mystery of God’s sovereignty. God’s desire to glorify himself to humanity is also his desire to glorify himself in our lives and the lives of others.
War veterans refer to the “fog of war.” In the middle of the fight it is hard to really see all that is happening on the battlefield. The faithful soldier must keep his head and stay on mission. So too we must not lose our heads in the middle of this spiritual battle. Only by keeping our eyes on Christ, remembering his faithful example, and trusting in his proven love can we keep our head when trials come.
What challenges are you facing this week? Where are you tempted to lose hope and give in to complaining? What are the ways that you have experienced the faithfulness of God that will sustain you through the “fog” of this season of your life?