Mark, my friend’s husband was a nice guy, but had no job. He had no references, no qualifications, no real work history, no friends or relatives that would speak up for him – no hope. He tried hard to be a good husband and father, but if you saw him around, his head was hung so low, his shoulder were hunched, his posture stooped. He wasn’t a Christian himself, but he didn’t stop my friend from being part of the church. One day, a new couple in church, who ran their own business, got to know my friend, and offered Mark a job in their works. We saw him a few weeks later, walking down the street, and hardly recognized him as the same man! His head was up; he ‘walked tall’ and faced the world; his confidence grew and he started to chat to people. What a difference!
God made some wonderful promises to the Israelites (Exodus 6:6-9). He wanted so much good for them, and was offering hope and a wonderful future, but they could not receive it. Adversity and deprivation robbed them of the ability to listen and respond, let alone trust. That did not stop God acting on their behalf. He remained faithful even though they could not engage with his offer. His action for them was because of who he was and what he was like, not because of their faith. Pure, pure grace.
Most of us are not as downtrodden as the Israelites, but there are things that hold us all back, that prevent us from engaging with everything God has in store for us. For some it’s guilt – we know we should be living better, praying more etc. For others it’s confidence, fear of the unknown, reluctance to leave the comfort zone. Some of us have trust issues – when we perceive that others, or even God, have let us down. Mark was only living a half-life because he was unemployed, embarrassed, ashamed, until someone gave him a chance. Someone believed in him, and it turned his life around. He proved himself to be a good worker and was able to live to his potential. He got hope and a future.
The promise of God to the Israelites in these verses reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God wants so much good for each one of us. What’s holding you back? What will you do about it?