Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. Exodus 15:1
It has seemed appropriate to study Exodus since we have moved here to Cairo. In a few short weeks, when our oldest son comes to visit, we’ll stand in the shade of the pyramids of Giza and stay in a resort on the shore of the Red Sea. My mind’s eye thrills at the thought of imagining the miracle from the shore and considering Moses song of praise.
Yet as I keep reading, not a few verses beyond, I find:
“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”” (Exodus 15:22-24)
Oh how easily, shortly, my heart turns to grumbling.
We received our shipment of household goods this week! So many prayed for the resolution of our situation and are part of that miracle; thank you, O Lord!
My oldest daughter asked a few days after we got the news that our shipment would be delivered soon, if I thought it could arrive before her birthday. She loves strawberry cake and wanted it to be a bundt cake, and we’d been making due with the one 13 x 9 pan that I’d purchased as we waited for our baking supplies to arrive from the U.S. I told her I would ask!
I had previously asked God for our goods be delivered before Thanksgiving so I could make a good meal for my family to ease some of the sadness of not sharing this day with aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, but now I prayed again, “God, could we please have the shipment delivered before our daughter’s eighteenth birthday to make it special?” It arrived on the sixteenth, the day before her big day. I felt God’s deep love for me and my family in answer to my rather frivolous request.
So, we set about making this a special day for her, and went shopping for the ingredients to make the cake. Thinking we could shop at the US Commissary, because we are able to do so in most every other country all over the world, we set out only to be told that we couldn’t. So, we had to make due with the ingredients that we could find and the disappointment of not making the perfect cake.
There have been many disappointments and difficulties since we’ve moved here, but if I list those, instead of all of the good, I begin to grumble and my attitude infects everyone around me. I am still learning (“When will I ever be done learning the same lesson over and over, Lord”) to “take captive every thought” (2 Corinthians 10:15 NIV) but when I do, I can avoid grumbling in the desert and focus on the hope of what God is going to do next. Sometimes, I may have only to walk three days in the desert to taste His life giving water, others it may take years and years, but I know my God will always “work all things together for good, for those He has called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) For that I am forever grateful!