August 2 Reflections

Why couldn’t God just snap his fingers and the Hebrew people could be released from Egypt? Why did there have to be such a mess…people dying, and lambs being slaughtered? Why doesn’t God make it easy to be released from bondage? Why can’t God just say the word and people be released from addictions…from shame…from abuse…from depression…from slavery to feelings of nothingness…from brokenness? Why does it have to be so hard? Why so often does life have to be such a bloody mess?

These are questions I wonder about as we look at the final plague: the death of the firstborn in homes that do not have the sign of blood above the doorpost, which created the holy day of Passover. All this death, loss, and grief just so the Hebrew people could be released. Isn’t there an easier way? I believe in God’s wisdom there is not an easier way. The people’s bondage and Pharaoh’s anxiety to keep them in slavery were so deep that an extreme demonstration of God’s love was needed. God uses a mess to fix a mess. I think anything less would have seemed phony or superficial. 

Our bondage and slavery to sin…death…fear…destructive behaviors and thoughts really is a mess. It is hard. It is a struggle of life and death. God could, but does not, just snap his fingers and say be released. It would seem superficial; not really getting at the heart of the issue. The point is not only can we not fix others, we cannot fix ourselves, no matter how much self-effort we put into it. God is in the business of changing lives. All he asks is that we be open to his love and trust his work for us. The bloody mess of the Old Testament in the Passover is fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus suffering and dying on a cross, so that we could be released from bondage to be free to love.

A contemporary song that has been speaking deep truths into my life is by Building 429 called “Blessing I Can’t See.”

I’m lifting up my heart again

Cause even when I can’t see the plan

I know your love is closing in on me

You hold the whole world in your hands

Still You feel the pain you understand

Ain’t just a war I’m standing in, oh no

It’s a blessing I can’t see yet.

I trust You in everything

I trust you in everything, oh God.

Whatever tomorrow brings

I trust You in everything, oh God.

As we think about God’s love closing in on us to provide freedom from bondage here are some passages to read for Sunday: Exodus 12:1-13; John 3:16-17; Galatians5:1; Galatians 5:13-15.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn