There is a process we all go through that can both be enlightening and include some of the hardest things we must deal with in our lives. It is this process of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. And while it looks different for all of us, it has the same kind of importance in our lives regardless of how it plays out.
As Pastor Josh Argubright talked about this last Sunday, one of the classic examples from the Bible in which we see this process play out is with the Israelites. Here is one of those moments in Exodus 16:2-3 (ESV):
“And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’”
Now you do not have go all that far back in the Israelites’ story to find the irony in what they are declaring here. Just a couple of chapters prior, we see them being miraculously rescued by the mighty right hand of God after well over 400 years of slavery in Egypt and crying out to God for help. You would think that this should result in a grand celebration. Not only had God rescued them, but He did so in dramatic fashion, and He did it despite their fears and doubts. And yet, they grumbled still because the disorientation they were experiencing in the desert didn’t line up with that same orientation they grew accustomed to for so many years—even when that experience was not an optimal one.
This is a lot like us.
For many of us, what can feel comfortable or normal is not always ideal. In fact, to truly grow, we are often called away from our normal surroundings, and into completely new ones. We have to allow God to guide us into a world where He shows us what is on the other side of the Red Sea and away from the Egypt we have likely lived in far longer than we should.
How, then, should we live? At what point do we look at our current orientation, and decide if it is time to move toward something more than what we know? How do we make sense of our current conditions and evaluate our next steps?
With those questions setting in the back of your mind, consider these words in Isaiah 43:1-3a (ESV):
“But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’”
The road we travel comes down to two things: Perspective and trust. To have the clarity we need in life to make sense of our orientation and the inevitable disorientation that follows, we must look at our situation through a different lens. Only God can provide us the ultimate clarity. But like so many of us do today, and as the Israelites also modeled, we constantly fall short in the acceptance of this reality, and we desperately need God’s help to make it right. For this reason, we must take these words from Paul to heart in Romans 8:31-32, 37-39 (ESV):
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? … In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Put simply, there is no greater love than that which God offers freely to us through his son Jesus Christ. And regardless of what your life looks like right now, or where you find yourself, if you put your faith in God, He will never mislead you. He never makes mistakes. Therefore, do yourself a favor and do not waste one minute more trying to figure out life alone. Because help is not on the way … It is already here and yours for the taking.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF …
- In what ways do you see yourself reflected in the Israelites?
- Why would the Israelites want to go back to Egypt after spending the last 400 years in slavery?
- How has God helped you in life?
- Where in your life do you need to trust God more?
- How can you begin this process today?
“ORIENTATION. DISORIENTATION. REORIENTATION.” SERIES IN REVIEW …
Message: “… And the Nets Didn’t Tear” / Blog Post and Study Guide
Message: “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Joseph and his Psalm 23 Reality”
Message: “Orientation” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Orienting Your Perspective With Trust”
OUR STUDY OF “JAMES: WISDOM FOR WHOLENESS” IN REVIEW …
James 5:19-20: “Reconciled” / Blog post: “Find the One You Can Help Save”
James 5:13-16: “A Prayer Offered in Faith” / Blog post: “The Sweet Incense and Saving Power of Prayer”
James 5:7-12: “Wait for the Lord” / Blog post: “Patient Challenges to Our Transformation”
James 4:13-5:6: “Like A Mist” / Blog post: “Life in the Mist of Today”
James 4:1-12: “Big Problems, One Solution” / Blog Post: “A Struggle We Cannot Overcome”
James 3:13-18: “Though It Cost All You Have”
James 3:1-12: “Taming the Tongue”
James 2:14-26: “Faith and Works” / Blog post: “Faith and Belief Are Not the Same”
James 2:1-13: “Favoritism” / Blog post: “God’s Favorite Seat at the Table”
James 1: “Wisdom for Wholeness”/ Blog post: “Where Faith and Action Collide”