In a previous blog, ‘How to turn a crisis into a testimony’, I wrote about the people of Israel and how they quickly turned from rejoicing to murmuring when they hit difficult times.
As I have been continuing to look at Exodus 15, I have been reminded that in the middle of a crisis, our response to what is happening is very important. As Moses faced the people, who were angry and irritable because of the lack of water, I love his response. He could have sought to justify himself, but instead he did not reply. In verse 25, it says that his first response was to go to the Lord to intercede on behalf of the people. And guess what: it says ‘The Lord showed him a tree’. And as Moses threw a branch into the water ‘the waters were made sweet.’
As I studied these verses, several things came to mind.
A tree does not grow overnight
Any gardener knows just how long trees take to grow – many, many years. God used a tree to bring help to the people of Israel, which means that God created an answer long before there was even a problem. And I believe He has done that for us too. Whatever bitter waters we find ourselves in today, God has already gone ahead of us, making sure that the answer is there and ready just when we face our most bitter crisis.
The answer was right there
In this particular situation, the answer was right there in front of their eyes, but they could not see it! In my experience, I have learned that often God’s answers are so close, and yet we can fail to see them. This is just like the widow with the small jug of oil in 2 Kings 6: the answer to her problem was there in her own house already, but she needed the prophet Elisha to reveal it to her. Can I encourage you that if you know the Lord as your personal saviour, then the answer to your situation is hidden within you, just as the same spirit that rose Christ from the dead also lives in you.
A miracle tree
In this story, God used a tree to make bitter waters sweet, but that tree also reminds me of the tree that Jesus died on over 2000 years ago. God threw his beloved son on to a tree to take the bitter sin of humanity so that anyone who believes in him would be able to discover the sweetness of life. You see, through Jesus we can not only have life, but we can experience abundant life.
Whatever situation you find yourself in today, whether it is the stress caused by the global situation or you are facing your own private ‘bitter waters’, I would like to encourage you that the answer to your problems lies in Jesus Christ, who also lives in you. You might say ‘David, I don’t know what to do or where to turn.’ Well, my advice is to at least call on his name. He promises us this in Psalm 50: ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.’
He who never changes is able to bring peace to your bitter storm. Try it and see what happens.