Beth has written an encouraging post for us to read and reflect on:
I was recently musing over the reality that life doesn’t go as we expect it. The reality that things are broken was palpable to me. I had finished a call with a dear friend who has been dealing with ongoing illness for 16 years. Her days are filled with chronic pain and intense bouts of fatigue. For her self-isolation is the norm.
Then today I read about a Nigerian pastor, Lawan Andini, a convert from Islam who led many other Muslims to Jesus, including his Father-in-Law who was a famous mallam (Quranic scholar). He was seized by Boko Haram on 2nd January 2020. After demanding an impossibly large ransom, they killed him on 20th January. Please pray for his grieving widow and 7 children.
Sometimes life is just hard, painful and uncertain isn’t it? I suppose this reality is tangible to us all at the moment as COVID 19 impacts us in various ways. As a nation we are left uncertain of what lies ahead.
The Israelites also knew what living in a broken world felt like. They had experienced oppression, slavery, illness, mistreatment and 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness. Moses and the Israelites had walked through tough and amazing times together and as the Israelites head to the Promised Land and Moses towards his death he pointed them again to God. Listen in to his promise:
'There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms' (Deuteronomy 33: 26-27)
Moses affectionately reminded Israel “Jeshurun there is no one like our God!” (Jeshurun was an affectionate name for Israel). People loved by God, there is no one and nothing that compares to our God, nothing. He stands alone in His supreme power and might and whatever is going to happen in the future remember that He in His majesty, rides through the heavens, on the clouds to help us! What a magnificent picture of our God! In His powerful strength and glory He comes at just the right time, riding quickly upon His clouds to our help. What a promise for the weak, fragile, vulnerable uncertain Israelites. What a promise for weak, vulnerable us! Its humbling isn’t it? We don’t like to think we need help do we? We think we are strong and self-sufficient and can defeat and overcome whatever comes our way.
But Moses knew the reality of life in a broken world with broken, weak people so he reorients their focus to look to God. He reminds the Israelites to turn and cry out to their faithful, great warrior God, the mighty one who sees every need and will promptly come to help. Our God promises to be close and present with us in the hardships of life too.
Moses also reminds Israel that their God not only comes to help but He is their place of protection and strength: The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. What a glorious comfort for the Israelites and for us! Amidst life’s hardships and uncertainties God promises to provide safety and security by carrying and protecting us in His strong arms. Arms of divine strength which will not grow weak or weary, arms which uphold and sustain, arms which fight and care for us and arms which will protect and shield His people through pain and sorrow.
Oh to be found within His loving grasp and divine keeping! What security is found in our omnipotent, eternal unchanging, powerful God! The God who comes to help and protect us and keep us till the day we see Him face to face. No trouble can make us sink below His mighty arms.
My friend has demonstrated this promise to me. God has helped and carried her along the hard and difficult path she is still walking. She cries out, He helps and He carries. Just weeks before Pastor Lawan Andimi was killed for loving Jesus he urged his loved ones to “Thank God for everything” and affirmed them they are all in the hands of God whatever happens to them.
May we too rest in the loving arms of our God who rides to our help, protecting and carrying us. Listen to this updated version of an Old Hymn by Co Mission and praise God that there is None like Him!