Who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth’. Deuteronomy 8:16-17
I was born and raised in America, but I was raised by immigrant Indians. Even as a child, I was very much pulled into the idea of the “American dream.” I had so many aspirations for myself: be the top of the class, graduate from a renowned college, be a doctor, marry someone by age 22, have my first child by age 26, and have the house with a porch swing. (I couldn’t care less about the white picket fence.) There was a bunch more, but you get the point.
Where did God fit in? I just assumed that He approved of my plans since none of it was necessarily bad or against the Bible.
The point is that I had this misconception that life would progress as planned as long as I worked hard for it. After I went off to college, God was very quick to burst that bubble. Repeatedly. Yeah, He was certainly working on me in high school, but I was still clinging to MY idea of what I needed to do leave a legacy.
In a span of a few years, my life had completely changed. When I recall going through those dark years, my dreams didn’t matter anymore because even though I was literally going through the valley of the shadow of death my Jesus had never shined before so brightly. For the first time in my life, I was desperate for Him for my daily bread. I was at a point in my life where if I didn’t have the hope I had in Christ, I didn’t know how to breathe let alone live for the next day. True, I would never wish my heartaches on my worst enemy, but I would never trade those experiences for all the treasures in the world.
Here’s something I want you to chew on: why does God allow struggles in our life? Why didn’t He just keep things the way they were? Why would He allow us to hit rock bottom? He wants to humble us. He wants to shape us into the very image of the One who showed the greatest humility and experienced the greatest pain by coming into this world in human form, being betrayed, dying on the cross, and facing the wrath of the Father.
Switch gears and think of the Israelites who had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. God allowed them to hunger, but He provided manna. The Israelites walked for decades, yet He didn’t even allow their clothes to wither or their feet to swell. What a beautiful picture of God’s providence in our lives even when we’re struggling!
If God had just allowed Israel to enter the Promised Land without any challenges, they would have forgotten God and believed that their prosperity was of their own power. In like manner, God humbles us in order to depend on Him and to remember that nothing good comes from our own effort. It’s all from God!
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6
I really had it wrong growing up. I wasn’t born to leave a legacy based off of my achievements, but to live out Christ’s legacy. Just as He showed love, grace, and mercy, I am called to do the same. Submit to God and allow Him to take control. I know that is easier said than done. (Lord knows that I have control issues.) It goes against our human nature to submit to authority, especially when our Authority doesn’t let us off for nights or weekends. Don’t lose heart! Here’s the one of the best things I’ve learned over the years. God has the miraculous power to sanctify hearts. He has the power to change our earthly desires to reflect desires that are in line with His will. Don’t believe in Satan’s lies when he tells you that you’re a lost cause. His grace knows no bounds!
For those who are struggling, keep at it because God is working something beautiful in your life! For those who have persevered through trials, praise God and be an encouragement! Run the race set before you brothers and sisters! Christ has already cleared the path for you.