When God’s plans seem to backfire

I discovered a very special little nugget of truth recently when reading the book of Exodus. To summarise: The people of Israel have been living as slaves in Egypt for centuries. God chooses one Israelite man, Moses, to be his spokesperson – to demand Israel’s release before Pharoah. First, he goes to the Israelites and tells them that God has heard their prayers and is going to free them. Then, when Moses confronts Pharoah, the Egyptian ruler basically says, “I obviously haven’t been keeping you Israelites busy enough.” And he doubles their workload. Israel’s joy evaporates, as they realise they were better off before Moses opened his mouth. It must have felt like a slap in the face from the Lord, as they saw God’s intentions literally going backwards. But God did free his people – just not immediately. It was his plan to do so through many miracles (ten plagues and a path through the middle of the sea), so that everyone would know of his power.

The important lesson I drew from this Bible story is this: When you see events conspiring against you, assume nothing! It doesn’t mean God isn’t powerful enough to help you; it doesn’t mean he has turned against you; and your experience certainly isn’t unique. God blesses those who love him, but sometimes you have to feel your way blind through some tough experiences to get to that blessing. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, and only God knows why that is. However, sometimes you do get to look back on it all later and can say, “Yes, I see it now. And I’m glad it happened this way.” But when you’re right in the middle of it all, the important thing is to have faith.

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