Earlier this morning my "Why" post posted but not finished, and it just left the word "Why" on the screen. At first I thought it was funny when I realized what happened, but then I thought maybe it was very profound ... not "me" being profound, but just asking "Why" in life. I keep a list of "Why's," but we could all make an endless lists of the why's we ask throughout life. If you read my "Why" on its own, did you wonder what else came after it? Maybe you filled in the blank with your own why.
This morning I spent time reflecting on the experience of the Israelites and their 400 years in slavery. 400 years is a loooong time. They must've felt abandoned by God, forgotten, of little value, even despised. They must surely have asked, "Why?"
But then God told them He saw their pain and heard their cry, and He intervened. He sent a deliverer to lead them out of Egypt. Moses felt inadequate, but God did great things to demonstrate His authority. The more power God showed, the more the Egyptians made God's people suffer. I'm sure they asked "Why" then, too. Pharaoh wanted to know who this God thought He was and by what authority He demanded release of His very productive slave population. I guess Pharaoh was really asking "Why" too. God saw and heard them, and He answered them all.
The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
In my study I answered the question of how I might've felt if I was an Israelite, finally leaving the land of my captivity, to go to a beautiful land of promise. I'm embarassed to say the first word that came to my mind was, "Finally." I don't like to wait long, and I really don't like to feel like I'm being ignored. Ignore me for 400 years, and I'm guessing I would probably not just overflow with words of gratitude. I think I would've fit in with the crowd passing through monuments built by their blood, sweat, and tears.
But God DID hear their cries. He DID always see their pain. He DID care about their slavery. And it was a part of His plan to purify and restore them to Himself, just like He works out plans in my life and yours to purify us and bring us close to Him. I'm sure moms of that epic journey out of Egypt reminded their children often that when we wonder if God knows we ask "Why" and if He cares that we ask "Why," we can be certain that He does, and He cares.
How would you finish "Why _______________" today?