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Sunday, February 21, 2010


We exited Kenya yesterday, and I was catching up on my Bible reading in the car. I'm in Exodus.  As usual, life and story move in parallel.  We approached the border with trepidation, piled high with about 16 trunks/bike boxes/bags/coolers . . topped off with a double baby jogger.  Most all spiff, new containers, labeled from the US with airline stickers. Nothing illegal, it is perfectly OK to bring your stuff to Africa.  Only this wasn't mostly OUR stuff, and we didn't have a list, and to a Kenyan or Ugandan customs agent it could have looked like loot we had accumulated in Kenya to sell in Uganda.  Our axels nearly sagged with the weight.  In spite of the fact that God miraculously made a way through for out expired-visa-coworker on the way into Kenya (remember the angel-directed bus that swept into immigration flustering and hurrying the process??), here we were again, worried.  It didn't help when our border agent began suggesting tedious day-long bureaucratic processes that would have put all the paper-work in order.  

So we prayed and pressed on, but not with amazing faith.  Still, God helped us.  No one asked so much as one question.  We were waved on.

When I read about the Isrealites on their desert-crossing journey, it is easy to wonder why they doubt.  God provides rescue, they rejoice, but a few days later they are ready to give up and doubt again.  At each challenge along the way they are quick to assume abandonment.  

Yesterday, I realized, we're the same.  One deliverance is great, but no guarantee of the next, and we so quickly worry about the next steps.  The way ahead looks so unsure.  God tells Moses that the people are not ready for battle, so He graciously leads them on a detour where He can strengthen their faith with smaller trials of water from the rock and manna from the dust.  What looks to them like an unnecessary and directionless waste of time actually serves to build community, build faith, prepare them for the conquering of the land.  I need that perspective for the weeks and months ahead, deliverance in desperation to steel my heart.

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