Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Defaming the Israelites

When you read the Old Testament, do the Israelites wear you out? If you're like me, you've thought that more than once while cruising through the Pentateuch (except Leviticus on the cruising part - no one has ever cruised through Leviticus). I mean, I just get frustrated with how they're so painfully slow to catch on. Talk about your vicious cycles. They experience hardship ... they whine a lot ... God delivers them. They experience more hardship ... they whine a little louder ... God still delivers them. Even more hardship ... they whine even louder than before ... God delivers them yet again.

Somehow, though God repeatedly rescues them in exceptionally miraculous ways, they go on stumbling around in oblivion. I mean, wouldn't you expect that if you'd escaped 400 years of captivity through a parted sea you'd remember it for a few days? Me too! But, not these people. They get out in that desert and what do they do? Forget that a sea was parted in their honor and start crying about food. They go so far as to declare they would've rather died stuffed full of meat in Egypt than hungry in the desert. You'd think at this point that God would just turn the desert into a sea and drown them all. Instead, he shows mercy and rains down food from Heaven. You think surely they'll realize now that God always provides. Then, you turn the page, and they're wailing about how their kids and cattle would prefer all you can drink in Egypt over death by thirst in the desert. You find yourself thinking, "They've done it now. He really is gonna drown 'em all!" Instead, he turns a rock into a faucet running with water perfect in every way. At last, you think this is the miracle that will make it impossible for them to forget God's power to save. Not so much. They forget again and again and again, and the cycle just continues. And, Almighty God, rather than giving up on them, repays their faithlessness with mercy and grace.

They just make you wanna scream, don't they? Then, suddenly you get it. You're exactly like them. We're exactly like them, aren't we? Trials come ... we forget God's power ... He delivers anyway. Next trial ... our memory fails us again ... God still shows up. Truth is, we have no business defaming the Israelites when we suffer from spiritual amnesia ourselves. Sometimes, it's easy to get so overwhelmed by the details that we forget how many times God has saved us from them.

In my case, He's bigger than cancer, bigger than surgery, bigger than radiation, bigger than feared speech problems, bigger than a feared inability to sing, bigger than feeding tubes, bigger than tracheostomies ... bigger than it all. He's not just bigger than my details, though. He's so big that He can be bigger than all of our details at the same time. The details of your life are no match for Him either.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." -Exodus 14:14

Next appointment: Friday at 2pm with Dr. Lisa Gilbert, a general oncologist. I haven't decided on a treatment course yet. This will be my last specialist meeting at Vanderbilt. After this appointment, I will decide whether or not I am going to pursue the University of Chicago option further or cancel that appointment and schedule surgery here. Thanks for joining me in praying for healing, God's guidance, and God's glorification through it all.


Kenneth said...

It's amazing how we cry, whine and complain; your situation reminds me (and everyone else) that God provides. We just have to be willing to walk with His patience and not our own.

Daniel, thanks for sharing this stuff with us; it is really encouraging and points us all to Jesus Christ.

In my life God has used my suffering (my alcoholism) to reach many people in a mighty way. Without my suffering, I could never for a moment reached them with the gospel.

Remeber that it is ALL for his glory.


Biter said...


I am sending out - and up - my prayers for you! I know you will come to a decision soon, and I already know you will feel good about it. I of course have my own opinion, but you don't need it:-) Thank you for your blog, and for being so open with what you are going through. It actually is a balm to be able to walk with you along the steps on your road to restored health; so thank you for allowing us to be present

Craig&Karen said...

Dear Daniel, Though we're far away in Nevada, your blog makes me feel like we're close, hanging out together at community group. And we are praying for you. We see God's glory shining already. When God empowers, like He is for you, we get an amazing revealing of His character as seen in you.

Wish we could bring you a meal like you did once for us!Love, Craig and Karen Berger

Mark Shrout said...


Thanks for including me. You continue to be in my prayers and Kelly's prayers.