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When life stinks

We have all been there on those days when the car won’t start, the toilet overflows or we’re late for work because we spent the morning trying to get gum out of our daughter’s hair. Hoping no one notices, we find ourselves mumbling under our breath, “this stinks…LIFE stinks!” First off, we need to be careful and clarify those events are actually called “life” NOT a life that “stinks.” There is a big difference.

Think of the young mom with three kids whose husbands walks out on her, the man injured at work and never walks again, the young person whose parents disown him because of the choices he made, the woman that is constantly criticized, the man who endures physical sickness. I want you to think about those times when you have faced an unrelenting thorn-in-the-side, a pain, suffering, sickness, sadness, brokenness, a deep darkness or depression that simply will not go away.

The book of Exodus gives us a close-up look at a life that stinks. Exodus is the story of the Israelites, who are in Egyptian slavery, but God raises up a deliverer whose name is Moses, one of most well-known people in all of the Bible. Moses’ first face-to-face meeting with Pharaoh officially telling him (asking him), just as God instructed, to “Let my people go” didn’t go so well. Exodus 5:1

It was a bad meeting! Pharaoh was mad and increased the workload of the Israelites. The Israelites were mad and complained to Moses, literally telling him, “You have made us (our lives) stink.” But, thankfully, God was still at work. You can almost see Moses slumped against a wall, knees pulled in tight to his chest, his face in his hands asking why? “Why have you done evil?” and “Why did you ever send me?” Exodus 5:22

Have you ever found yourself asking God, why? Why me? Why now? Why this? Why is life so difficult? Why so dark? Thankfully, this is when God speaks! But instead of answering the question why, which would have kept the focus on Moses, God directs Moses’ attention to Himself and encourages Moses to look at Him! Three times in Exodus 6 in verses two, four and six God reminds Moses “I am the LORD.”

What I find rather interesting is that when “life stinks,” like Moses, we too often look at ourselves rather than look at God and specifically WHO God is and WHAT God has done. Earlier when God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he told Moses WHO He was by explaining His name was “I AM who I AM.” Exodus 3:14

In this, God was revealing His name to be YEHWEH, which means LORD. This speaks of God’s person, character, power and sovereign authority. It explains God is self-existent, He is not dependent upon anyone or anything. God is Creator and sustainer of all that exists. God is immutable (unchanging) in His being and character. Hebrews 13:8 says God is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” And Isaiah 43:13 explains God “always was and always will be.” He is eternal in existence.

In Exodus 6, God promised “I will bring you out from under the burdens… I will deliver you from slavery. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.” (v.6) That is exactly what God did. It is a picture of freedom! Just as God would free His people from bondage through the mediator Moses, Jesus our mediator, frees us from eternal separation from God and forgives us of our sin. So even when “life stinks,” we can remember WHO God is and WHAT God has done for us. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm…” Galatians 5:1

Be encouraged, regardless of how dark it may seem, there is always hope in Jesus.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Tim Boger, senior pastor of Big Woods Bible Church in Lock Haven.

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