The Promised Land

Most of my life, I have attended an Assembly of God church. I am sure at some point we talked about Lent, but I don’t really remember. Growing up, I remember celebrating Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and that was really it. It wasn’t until I was working at a Lutheran company in my early 20’s, that the idea of Lent really made sense. I now understand the purpose of Lent is to prepare for Easter though prayer. I also understand that many people “give up” something in order to stay more focused on the Lord during the Lenten season. While I understand Lent, I personally have not really taken part in anything related to the season.

However, this year, the Lenten season falls when we are facing a lot of first anniversaries regarding the loss of our second baby. Dan and I knew these days could be difficult, so we purposefully choose  to do a Lenten study that would keep our eyes on the Lord. Around the time we had the idea, She Reads Truth started advertising the devotion they would cover during Lent. The main scripture they were using to advertise was “Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation.” Something about the scripture and the timing, just felt right. There is also a site for men called He Reads Truth, which allows Dan and I to read the same material each day. It felt perfect, so we jumped in.

This study is in Exodus. Honestly, before this devotion, when I thought about preparing for Easter, Exodus wouldn’t have ever been my first choice! However this devotion has changed my perspective. The story found in Exodus is a story of salvation. Think about it… the story starts with God freeing the Israelite’s from Egypt after 400 years of slavery and it ends as God establishes Israel as a great nation under the law. When Jesus came, He completed the work that God started in the Israelite’s. No longer do we have to sacrifice animals and live under the crazy laws found in the Old Testament because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s been super powerful to connect the story of Exodus to the cross, and I feel like I could share for days about the sweet connections I had never realized before. However, one truth has really stuck with me. There is one devotion I just can’t stop thinking about. So today, I want to share with you.

When God saved the Israelite’s from captivity, He made them a promise. He told them of an amazing place… the Promised Land. However, the Israelite’s got impatient. The Lord was taking too long to bring His promise, so they took things into their own hands. They created separation by building a golden calf to worship. So, In Exodus 33:1-3, the Lord said He would still bring the Israelite’s to the Promised Land, however He would not go with them.

When Moses heard this, he ran to God and said this:

“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
(Exodus 33:15-16).

Moses understood that a Promised Land without the Lord was nothing. He knew God’s presence was the very identity of His people. If God wasn’t in the new land, then there was no point in going. Without God the land would not satisfy the promise they were longing for. 

Friends, this has rocked my world. I have wanted a baby for a REALLY long time. I feel like the Lord has promised me a baby. My “promised land” is being able to stay home with several healthy babies. This idea has become such a dream, that I have found myself thinking “life will be so much better when my babies are here”. In the past several months, when life has gotten stressful, I have found myself thinking that being a stay at home Mom would be easier. I’d be happier. Having children would fulfill me. I’d want for nothing.

I have grown so tired of waiting that I have started to doubt my path. Remember how I have shared that I have peace about “being still” and waiting for the Lord to move? Well, that isn’t completely true. When I lay awake at night (something I have done a lot of lately), I often find myself thinking about possible fertility treatments. I have found myself trying to think of ways “around” being still. You know, maybe there is a way I could “stay still” but also start fertility drugs. I know fertility drugs aren’t a guarantee of a baby, but taking control sounds really good.

However, then I read what Moses said and it knocked me hard. Moses basically said that he would forfeit the promised land in order to not lose his relationship with God. I don’t think God is asking me to forget about babies, please hear me, I still believe that the Lord will give us babies. However, maybe God is trying to show me that it was never about the promise of a baby, it has always been about a relationship with Him. Maybe it’s not about giving up control, it’s about realizing that I was never in control to begin with. Maybe He is reminding me that it’s not about the blessings He can give me, its about true friendship with Him.

I feel like I have been here before. I feel like I know it’s not about a baby. However, I also feel like I needed to be told again. I needed God to remind me that although His promise hasn’t changed, without Him the promise means nothing. Having babies without having Jesus will still leave me empty.

Someday, I am going to be blessed to stay home with my babies but guess what, there will still be hard days. It’s on those days that my friendship with the Lord will mean everything. Jesus is what will get me through my hard days, not my babies.

If you are reading this, and you have grown tired in your wait, I encourage you to take a step back and remember who Jesus is. He isn’t just wanting to provide a path to your blessing… He is your blessing. Today I encourage you to take a step back from what you are asking Him for, and just simply praise Him for who He is. His promise hasn’t changed, He is still going to answer. BUT, that promise means nothing unless He is in it. Rest in Him while you wait.

  1. Oh Sister! I don’t see you doing this, but I know when some have suggested in my life “what if the promise doesn’t look like how you dream of it?”, my reaction has been seething (and roiling) anger at God for the idea of not coming through like he should–I have had to destroy a herd of golden calves at this point in my journey. 40 years with God in the wanting and waiting is better than mere minutes outside of God’s presence, but I confess that is a truth I have to repeat until I feel it some days more than others.

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  2. Love you so much! Thanks for cheering me on always!! So thankful we can encourage each other to destroy the golden calves!

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  3. LaTonya Hockett April 2, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Oh my dear Lord! You and I are so on the same page! Waiting is all about me coming closer to my sweet Father God. There are times when I think maybe we should try another IUI or just do IVF, but God reminds me of His promise and how He is faithful! Just puts things in perspective for me. Thanks again for this reminder!

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  4. It’s so hard no to want to jump ahead of the Lord!! Praying for you as you wait!

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  5. I”m amazed at how God connects us in the Spirit. I was just reading those same verses with a study from Beth Moore. I’m glad you and hubby was proactive to change the focus. So amazing.

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  6. WOW! That is world rocking! It’s so hard to give all our dreams, desires, hurts, joys, hopes, all of it to the Lord sometimes…but when we do, when we open our hands and give it all back to Him, He is so faithful! Waiting is H A R D!! But the Lord has something so much better than even your wildest dreams could imagine for you! I think about that when I look at my daughter now (I hope sharing this is not insensitive, I totally understand your pain of infertility…it is something I still struggle with)…all those years I BEGGED God for a baby, I had a picture of what that looked like in my mind…then He gave us Agnes through adoption (which is beautiful and hard all wrapped in one) and she is WAY BETTER than I ever imagined…she wasn’t conceived in my womb and didn’t come the way I begged the Lord for years but she is BETTER! Praying for you girl! Seek Him in the waiting…getting to know Him more will never be something you regret…like Moses said he was willing to forfeit the promise land…

    Sending Love!!

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  7. Oh I just love that! What study by Beth Moore are you doing?

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story! Its not insensitive at all! I love the hope you can speak through your testimony! Thank you for your prayers!

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  9. AMEN! You are so right!!! A blessing without God is just never going to be what we hope it to be, it will always be lacking and we will always be needing more. Trusting in his timing means we get the fullness of His blessings!!

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  10. I literally just read Exodus 31-33 this morning for my chronological study! I loved the points you brought out about the Promised Land being empty without God. SO SO SO good! It’s hard to accept sometimes, and it’s definitely something I needed reminded of repeatedly as well…but it is so true nonetheless. Thanks for this!

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  11. I love how God works. Love that you were just reading Exodus before you read my blog. So thankful this encouraged you. Thank you for reading.

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  12. It’s so hard to want to rush things and continue to question His plan but all we can do is take it day by day and wait patiently!!!! Thank you for this!

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