I fell in love for the very first time when I was thirteen years old.
Never mind that the boy in question wasn’t my boyfriend. Or that we never hung out. Or that we weren’t friends at all. Convinced, I wrote in my journal that I knew it was love because I could pick out his bad qualities as well as his good ones, and I was still into him!
Yes, yes, I know. Absolutely disgusting. Unless?
Thirteen-year-old me notwithstanding, few people knew true love like Moses did. All it takes to tell is a skim through the story of the Israelites and everything they put poor Moses through. Yet despite it all, here he stood before them, reminding them of a love even stronger than his: the love of their God.
And if their whining, disobedience, and doubt was any indication, the Israelites could always use another reminder. But would this one work?
Sweet & Sour
It started off strong. Moses retold the story of how the Israelites, fresh off of their victory over King Sihon, went on to achieve another huge victory over King Og of Bashan. This was another battle for the books. High, fortified walls were no match for the Israelites. They raked in cattle, plunder, land and towns as the spoils of war.
But Moses went on to reveal that everything wasn’t perfect. Despite all the prayers and stress and patience and tears and love he had dedicated to God – He told Moses to stay right where he was. Moses couldn’t cross the river Jordan. He couldn’t enter the Promised Land.
Moses pleaded with God to let him enter. He wanted to see God’s promises come true! He wanted to dance and sing and praise God for His blessings right there in the Promised Land!
“That’s enough”, God said.
“Don’t ask Me again.” (verse 26)
What would you do next?
Ask again? Curse? Scream? Give the cold shoulder? Panic? Or accept it?
We know which option Moses chose. But what we don’t always realize is that the other options betray a darker emotion deep down inside of us:
When God does something we don’t like or understand, we doubt Him. We doubt His love. We doubt His fairness. We even doubt His reality.
And it sucks. Doubt is confusing and squirmy and invasive. It whispers to us over and over again in the worst moments.
But this chapter demonstrates just one of the ways to shut Doubt up: get hype about what God has already done.
We might not know why God cut off that career opportunity, allowed a loved one to get sick, caused that breakup, or asked us to sacrifice the things most precious to us. But we know for a fact that God helped us pass that class, answered a desperate prayer, gave wisdom when it was most needed, and helped us destroy our enemies.
We should go over and over what God has done for us. We should remember how excited it made us. We should replay it in our heads, share it with someone else.
Doubt says “God cannot be trusted”. Fight doubt by showing it just what God is capable of.
“I love you too much to take the bad things away.”
He could, though.
God could make our lives perfect. He could take away all of our obstacles, all of our consequences, all of our loss, and all of our pain.
But He doesn’t. So our doubt feels justified. It’s natural to feel this way. Why would a loving God…if He loved me, wouldn’t He…maybe He isn’t…
But when we compare our present doubtful situation with our own true stories about who God is, a different picture emerges: an image of true love.
If God loves enough to work a miracle, then He must love enough to allow disappointment teach us to trust in Him alone. If God loves enough to save us from pain, then He must love enough to disrupt our plans in order to save us from our own bad decisions. If God loved Moses enough to help him tackle one of the largest leadership roles in the world, then He must have loved Moses enough to show him just how severe his sin truly was.
Only the truest love will allow the bad because it leads to our good.
But it’s only when we face our doubts that truths like these become clear.
What do you think? How do you deal with doubts? Comment below.