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How Long, O Lord?!

How Long, O Lord?!

Exodus 17:1a

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD.

Don’t we wish the Lord would come back through the clouds today and meet us in the air? We’d let the whole world disappear beneath us, and devotionals like these along with it, just to look up in the heavens and see the Son of Man descending for His people. I imagine that Moses and Aaron are feeling that same sort of yearning as well, wondering as the days go by why the Promised Land isn’t right around the corning—what they’re still so far away. I wonder how many times Moses asked the Lord in the quiet of his heart, or possibly in a sudden outburst of frustration not recorded for us, something like this: “Father, You blazed a path for Your people even through the sea; You parted the deep, impassable waters just for us; part this wilderness too! Fly us to Canaan on eagle’s wings! Don’t carry us along slowly; don’t make the journey an arduous ordeal; just breathe us to Zion the way you breathed the world into existence!”

But God leads these people through eras, epochs, chapters, testaments, seasons, stages, and whether we like it or not, that’s how He leads us along too, friend. From the moment He whispered into the unformed darkness of our sinful hearts, “Let there be light!” to the moment He hails us with heaven’s applause, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”, He’s sanctifying us slowly, giving us a little light here and a little there, drawing us through miles of rugged terrain in the wilderness of Sin, a terrain that tries to keep us down and hold us back and depress our confidence in His good heart, but, in time, we’ll see that every step forward was part of a triumphal procession.  

Friend, I don’t know what stage God has you in right now in that procession. Maybe this particular stage doesn’t feel all that triumphant. But if you don’t see Christ coming back through the clouds in glory right now, take comfort in the thought that it’s only because He has more progress to make in the world’s story, and in the church’s story, and in Israel’s story, and in your story.