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?”
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.