In Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire Jim Cymbala tells the story of their daughter who had walked away from her family and her faith and was leading a life completely under the control of drugs. She had been gone from home for several years and during that time, not knowing if she was even alive, they had continually pled with God for her deliverance and return home. It seemed that God was not listening or had turned his back on them, and certainly on their daughter.
What was it going to take to bring her to her senses?
Then one day, out of the blue, the phone rang; it was their long, lost daughter, asking to come home. God had answered their prayers. She was alive, and she had been delivered from her addictions! She returned home a changed person. What did it take to turn her around? We don’t know all that God led her through, but she finally submitted to his work in her life.
In a totally different context, today's reading from Exodus 7, makes us wonder, "What is it going to take to bring Pharaoh to the place where he will let the Israelites go? Can you think of anything worse than having every body of water in your nation turned to blood—to say nothing of the water in the containers in your house? Certainly, if Pharoah had any compassion for his own people, he would not continue to shake his fist in the face of Almighty God. But it was going to be a long time and take many more plagues before Pharaoh relented. Even after he finally let the Israelites go, he decided to follow them to bring them back to captivity. After all, they were his workforce.
God often works in mysterious ways to accomplish his purposes. Even when we don't know how and why, he is constantly working his plan for his glory and the good of his chosen people, including believers today.
Fast forward to 2021. What’s it going to take to bring our nation back to God? Are we, like the Israelites, so comfortable and secure in our slavery to the world around us that we are willing to accept the status quo? Or are we willing to follow Jesus into the unknown of tomorrow, pursuing an intimate walk with him now while we’re on the ultimate journey to heaven where we’ll live with him forever?
What’s it going to take?
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
jbd & gmd