Sunday, July 28, 2013

From the Wilderness to the Promised Land

July has been another busy month with lots of new memories and LOTS of new kids at Murphy-Harpst.  I had one story in particular that was incredibly inspiring, and I wanted to share it with the public.

During our summer program, we have bible study each week.  Some groups will speak up to answer questions or read scripture, but rarely do we have an extensive conversation.  So last week, we talked about Moses' time in the wilderness and in particular the Israelites complaining about their diet post-Exodus.  We talked about the Israelites' three life stages - slavery, wilderness, and the Promised Land.

We made an analogy to our own lives in these three stages.  While we are living a life of sin, we are slaves to that sin.  The day we accept the grace that God offers to us through Jesus Christ, we are freed from our slavery to sin.  The problem is that many of us want to skip the wilderness, and when we accept Christ, we expect to receive the Promised Land instantly.  Anyone who has dedicated his or her life to God knows that the moment you accept Christ isn't the moment you enter the land flowing with milk and honey.  We discussed that in our own lives, if we don't get immediate rewards, we sometimes give up on working towards a goal.  Like some of the Israelites, we are willing to give up our freedom from sin and return to slavery because we crave parts of our past lives.  The wilderness is the trying time when I think our minds are renewed and we truly become one with God.  It takes patience though before we get to experience the peace, the oneness of me/God, that comes from a life lived to serve the Lord.

Instead of the kids blowing off what I said, they embraced it, relating this patience I talked of to their own prayer lives.  One girl even mentioned that she had prayed five years to have a relationship with her mother and it finally happened, but she gave up a few times along the way.  We discussed that God knows when the timing is right, even when we sometimes don't understand it.

One boy asked why we have to walk through the wilderness.  A simple question, but one I had not considered previously.  Before I could answer, another child said that we grow during that time and it makes us stronger and more able to endure when hards time come along.  They even compared it to Adam and Eve being given a perfect world and wasting it, because they didn't appreciate it.  "Maybe we need the wilderness to appreciate the Promised Land," she exclaimed.

After having bible study with three groups, my assistant for the day asked if she could lead the next group.  I hesitantly said yes and was blown away by the wisdom she imparted on the other kids.  Writing this brings a tear to my eyes, because I've been trying to teach and lead the children, but I didn't realize I was teaching them how to lead.  God has bigger plans for us than we do for ourselves, and I am so blessed to be used in such a powerful way.