Suffering - Exodus 3

Read Exodus Chapter 3.  There is some amazing stuff there!  God reveals Himself to a shepherd named Moses in a burning bush that doesn't burn!

Pay particular attention to verses 7-12.  The Israelites have been in slavery for 400 years (as God had told Moses they would be back in Genesis 15).  The times have gotten tougher as the new Pharoah is becoming an tyrant.  Apparently, the Israelites begin to cry out to a God that they barely know...the God of their father's: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob...the One True God who in this chapter tells us His is The Great I Am!  Guess what?  God hears their cries!  Not only does He hear them but He responds to them with Compassion!  This is good news for you and I.  When we call out to God He does hear us.  We are not alone.  He hasn't forgotten our address.   

The word for our 'crying out to God' is prayer.  Prayer is conversing with God.  It can be done privately as well as together with others.  In our text today, it appears that both were going on.  There was a groundswell of prayer activity.  Do you pray?   

Yet, maybe you ask 'then why hasn't my circumstance changed?'. Fair question.  In truth, I do not have the exact answer for you.  However, I do have several thoughts for you to consider this day: 

1. Timing - There are always three possible answers to our prayers to God: Yes, No and Not Yet.   We like yes.  We do not like no but sometimes it is best for us (see #2 below).  Not yet can be equally difficult.  We struggle with patience and understanding...especially when we hurt or when things seem unbearable.  Rather than 'unanswered prayers', a faithful person can look at these three answers and understand that God is not silent.

2. Growth - When the answer is 'not yet' it can be that we are expected to go through the tough situation and grow from it.  It may grow our character.  It may grow our testimony.  It may grow our faith.  Growth is always a good thing but the path to growth can feel uphill and rocky. 

3. Plan - It may be that your circumstances fit into God's bigger plan and that your situation may be helping someone other than yourself.  I think of my mom in the months prior to her death at age 56.  Her suffering seemed unfair yet she became a strong witness of Faith in God through Jesus to an entire hospital floor that she would have never met otherwise.  

As you cry out to God this week, keep an eye out for how He answers you.  Where do you need to grow?  Where do you need to be patient?  

Have a great week!