There’s a lot of heartache going around our church right now. Almost as if it were a disease. Relatives have passed on, close friends are sick. It seems that we’re in a season of grief right now. I’m trying to choose joy amidst the sorrow.
I used to think that my life was out of control or “messed up” if I had too many tests or a friend was mad at me. This is how I know I am growing up. I’m making life-altering decisions. I have held a real job now for almost 2 years. People are dying. Real life is happening all around me. There’s a reason why this blog is called “Life in the Real World”. Life under my parent’s roof and in the security of my college campus is so different. It’s sheltered, safe. The real world isn’t pretty. Frankly, it sucks sometimes.
I could choose to be bitter. I could choose to be angry with God about things that are happening to me and to the people around me who I love. What good would it do me? I read tonight in my Beth Moore study about bitterness. Please keep reading, I promise it will be good.
At one point during the exodus, the Israelites roamed the desert for 3 days without water. They finally came to a place called Marah, where there was water. However, it was bitter and they couldn’t drink it. The Israelities asked Moses what they should do. Moses cried out to God for help. God showed Moses a piece of wood to put into the water. Miraculously, the water became sweet and drinkable. Then, God said some amazing words that don’t really make sense in the context and I didn’t understand why He said them until Beth elaborated. Here’s what God said after the miracle:
“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you” – Exodus 15:26
Doesn’t completely make sense does it? Well, maybe it makes sense, but does it relate to what just happened? This is how Beth explained it:
He introduced Himself as Jehovah-Rapha (Healer) by demonstrating His power over the most common disease from which His children would suffer – bitterness.
After God gives them water, he takes them to a place called Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Beth goes on to explain that this is basically a metaphor. When you experience bitterness, the only way to heal is through God. He tells us countless times to come to him all who are thirsty.
Guess what? I’m thirsty. I need those 12 springs and 70 palm trees! It almost sounds like God took them to a resort, doesn’t it?! Sounds like a vacation to me! 😉 I can’t complain too much, I mean, I do live in south Florida. But metaphorically speaking…I need to seek Him in order to be healed.
That’s my challenge to myself and for you, whoever you are (if you’re still reading!)…choose joy. Choose healing. Choose the springs and the palm trees.
My life is a mess right now (and really, it’s not that bad compared to others). My friends’ lives are messes right now. This is all we can do. Otherwise we will become bitter people and that is just no way to live.
You know what’s funny? I did two sessions of my Beth Moore study tonight (I am really behind) and the first one was about fears and it spoke to me WAY more than this one about bitterness did. God just totally brought this to my heart. In fact, I almost wrote in my journal how “this session didn’t really apply to me…” Wow! How limiting was I?! I’m pretty sure I was just spiritually slapped in the face. 🙂
p.s. the Beth Moore study is the “re-make” of A Woman’s Heart. It’s pretty awesome.