Have you ever noticed how many times Jesus led his disciples through situations, difficulties and even dangers as an opportunity to teach them? Jesus told the disciples to get into a boat and cross the sea when there was a storm coming. He asked them to feed hungry crowds of thousands when out in the wilderness miles from the nearest store or restaurant. Jesus led them into the home territory of His enemies who were actively plotting his death, and could certainly endanger the disciples’ lives as well! Jesus taught them he was Lord in all situations.
By Simon de Vlieger Public Domain
A Good Shepherd Wouldn't Lead His Sheep Into Danger - Would He?
Maybe He just the disciples and the leaders of Christian ministry this way? Let's consider how God led the nation of Israel when he had freed them from slavery in Egypt. One of the first places God led all of his people to was called Mara. There the people went to drink but found the water to be bitter and unsafe! This was a precarious situation for such a large group of people in the barren wilderness! They began to cry out to God and he showed Moses what to do. Moses threw a tree into the water and it was healed. The water was now clean and drinkable for the people and their animals! God told his people that he had led them all into this situation to teach them that he was the Lord their healer!
But Why Is This Happening?
As Moses later instructs the next generation of Israel after 40 years in the wilderness, he reveals one of God’s ways for teaching his people.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV).
God’s ways of teaching involve our need and His provision, our danger and His deliverance, our sickness and His healing, our weakness and His strength! Also, notice that God does not reveal that their hunger and his provision of manna is a teaching lesson in Exodus when it first happened. They are only told that this is a lesson for the purpose of teaching them after 40 years! This ought to make us careful about jumping to conclusions… and to be patient!
What About Us?
These days everyone is being affected by the current pandemic. It is natural to wonder about God’s purposes through these circumstances that have changed our lives and even the world. Is the Lord once again seeking to teach us? Most likely, yes! Will we react like Israel and Jesus disciples sometimes did? Easily thrown off balance, confused, complaining, or even panicking? This is a time to be patient, listening, humble, and teachable before the Lord. The Lord will once again demonstrate his authority and power through those who trust him, listen to him, follow him, and obey his Word! The confession of the early church is very appropriate in our circumstances today:
“Jesus is Lord!”