There are times when the powers of evil seem solidly entrenched and nobody is able to get rid of them. We do what we can, we pray, but nothing seems to happen. The forces of evil laugh at our ineffective efforts. We get frustrated and angry. We wonder where is God. Indeed, we may not say it out loud but there are times when we even begin to wonder if God actually exists. And then we remember Exodus.
This morning, our morning reading was Exodus 2:1–10. Here are the opening verses of that passage.
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him. (Exodus 2:1–4 NRSV)
This incident happened at a time when God’s people had been enslaved by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. There seemed to be nothing they could do to throw off the crushing yoke of Pharaoh. Prayers went unanswered. God was nowhere to be seen.
Exodus Chapter 2 begins with a normal everyday story. Two people get married. They have a son. How everyday can you get? No flashing lights, no press conference to announce that God had begun His rescue mission. But He had.
Every time I read these chapters I am reminded that God is sovereign and acting out His purposes in history but that He doesn’t always show us His working. Therefore, at times when evil seems untouchable and God seemingly absent, I am called to trust Him and to continue to work for good.
We also note that God takes His time to do things. It would take 80 years before Moses would encounter God at the burning bush and receive his orders to lead God’s rescue mission for the Israelites. We learn again that God is neither early nor late but works at His perfect timing. Not only are we called to trust God in the dark, we are also called to trust His perfect timing.
This is a tough call indeed when evil seems to be so strong. But what are our options? Give in to despair? Jettison any belief in God, or in a God that is all loving and all-powerful? I am sure there are days.
But then we recall the stories of Joseph, and of Moses, and of Jesus, and we are reminded of the ways of God. And we choose to trust again. Sometimes trust begins as resignation but then it grows into something positive and intentional.
We live in dark times. (Though mum reminds me that the difficulties we face are nothing compared to those faced by the generation that went through World War 2.) There are times when God seems to have forgotten us. Evil is unchecked. Prayers go unanswered. What are you going to do? We remember and we press on.
*Image from Ministry-To-Children.com