In Exodus 3, God called Moses to return to Egypt to deliver his people. The Israelites. Moses fought the call. Who am I to do such a thing? He didn’t think he was good enough. He didn’t think he was a good speaker. He didn’t think he could make the Egyptian leaders believe him. Even when God allowed Aaron to speak so Moses could perform the miracles, Moses resisted. Even when God gave him clear instructions, Moses still wavered. God reminded him that his people’s misery and oppression had been seen. His people’s cries for mercy had been heard. Moses was to go. That was God’s clear command. And God promised to lead Moses and his people to a land that was flowing with milk and honey.
So Moses went to Pharaoh. Aaron spoke God’s words and Moses performed God’s miracles before Pharaoh. But Pharaoh refused to give in to God and caused greater suffering for the Israelites.
Even with God’s promise, the Israelite’s suffering worsened before they were delivered. They had done no wrong, but their workload was increased. They were beaten. They were abused. They were threatened.
Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.” Exodus 5:22-23 NRSV
Could this have been the same cry that rang out from Jesus’ lips as he hung on that cross? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus was in agony. He felt abandoned by his Father. Had God left him all alone on that cross? Not only was the physical pain of being nailed to the cross unbearable, but he was bearing the weight of the entire world’s sins on his shoulders.
Death by crucifixion was barbaric. It brought immense physical suffering. It was cruel. It was painful. Nails were hammered into his hands and feet. His breathing was ragged. He had severe blood loss. Broken ribs. Collapsed lungs. Exhausted thighs. Shoulders pulled from their sockets. A slow agonizing death.
Yes, there are times when life doesn’t make sense. When things are going wrong. Horribly wrong. Others make decisions that impact innocent lives. We feel abandoned. We may feel that we’re in exile with no way of escape. It would seem that God is failing.
Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The thing is. I’ve said some of those same words. I’m not good enough. I can’t do this. God, why am I going through this situation? When will it end? God, where are you? God, why have you forsaken me? God, why have you done nothing to deliver me?
When it seems that those you trusted have failed you, there is One who never fails. God is not slow. He is patient. He is working behind the scenes. Putting everything in place. Oh. It may seem as if he hasn’t heard the prayers. It may seem as if he hasn’t seen our plight. It may seem as if he doesn’t care. He has said that we will have trouble in this life. We will suffer. We will face trials and deep sorrows.
But God has given us a promise that we must hold to as long as we have breath. He will right our wrongs. Oh. Not necessarily as we would like, but in His all-knowing, all-seeing, all-present way. God does not fail. He is in control.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
God is good all the time. All the time God is good.