By Brooke Holt
“And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” Exodus 17:7
One of my favorite ministries through the years has been that of healing prayer. It is awe-inspiring to walk with people into the presence of the Lord seeking the healing only he can bring. Often healing prayer begins with listening. People need to share their stories, to be heard, and to have their pain acknowledged and understood. What often happens as people share hardship is that they question God – was he there in their challenging times? Could a good God really let such evil things happen to his children? If God was there, why did he not intervene and prevent the hurt?
As the Israelites traveled through the wilderness in search of the land God had promised to them, they also questioned whether God was with them; if he saw their need and misery; and if his plans for them were truly good. Read their words to Moses again, “Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7) Throughout Exodus 17, the Israelites have been lamenting their thirst and the fact that they had no water to quench that thirst. They railed against Moses and questioned God yet again. Yes, they had seen the Lord part the Red Sea; yes, they saw his miraculous work in the plagues; yes, they drank the water that the Lord made sweet from Marah. But now, the Lord was allowing them to thirst yet again. Maybe he had taken leave of them or forgotten them altogether or maybe this voyage to the Promised land wasn’t really a good idea.
Many emotions and many questions were brought together in their question to Moses here. People continue to wrestle with all those emotions and questions today and still ask: “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7) Perhaps you are asking the same question. Life hasn’t turned out as you expected. God hasn’t pulled through as you expected. Your calling has proven much harder than you thought. Would God really allow such hardship?
Every one of these questions is answered through the season of Lent as Christians are called to walk with Jesus on the road to Calvary. Jesus experienced intense pain and agony on that road as he was handed over to sinful men, beaten, humiliated, and crucified. Was God the Father good throughout all of this?
Easter Sunday answers that question and declares that God the Father was and is good. Though Satan tells you God is not there, does not see, is not good – all those doubts and questions are answered on the cross. This life is painful, but God is always good, and he has promised to never leave nor forsake us. (See John 16:33, Matthew 28:20)
In every healing prayer situation, I have seen God show up for his beloved child. He reveals his presence to them in even the most painful situations and ministers to them in ways that only he can. It is the most amazing journey to walk with someone!
The Lord is not afraid of your questions. He is ready to reveal himself to you and to make the faithful way forward. Will you bring your questions and hurt to him and allow him to minister to you? Or maybe you need someone to walk the journey with you – seek out that friend, the pastor, the prayer minister – let the Lord speak his truth into your life today! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments?
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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