Remembering: One Lump or Two?

Originally posted on August 3, 2011

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

It’s my nightly routine.

Place favorite mug on the counter.
Heat up the water.
Lay tea bag in the mug.
Pour steaming hot water in and let it steep.
Add spoonfuls of sugar.  (Yummy and sweet).
Splash in some milk.

Evening tea.  It’s been years since I’ve gone to bed without drinking it and it’s become a sort of security blanket.  I’m not sure if I could sleep without a cup.

Even worse, maybe I’d lie awake just because the tea wasn’t in my favorite mug and instead dumped into some random coffee cup grabbed from the cupboard.  That’d be like someone trying to swap a precious teddy bear for some unfamiliar spare stashed at the bottom of the toy box.

Last night, I sat down to my steaming cup, took a sip,  . . .

gulped and grimaced.

Instead of sweet tea, I tasted bitterness.  I’d filled the sugar canister, but never spooned any sugar into my mug.

Have you ever been a little disappointed?  You hope for something sweet and taste undrinkable bitterness instead?

The Israelites wandered through the desert for three days, searching for water.  Each day, their hunt must have grown more desperate.  How long could they survive out there, moving through endless wilderness without water to drink?  And then they arrived at Marah and there was water and they felt that rush of joy that accompanies salvation!

But the water was bitter and undrinkable.  It seemed like cruel disappointment considering their true need.  They weren’t asking at that point for luxury; they were asking for necessary provision and it seemed like God had failed them.

Yet, there at Marah, “Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink” (Exodus 15:25).

The Israelites placed their hope in their water-finding abilities.  They hoped for an oasis or a stream in the desert. And when they found what they had been looking for all along, they also discovered disappointment.

Moses placed his hope in God instead, knowing that even bitterness can be transformed into water for the thirsty.

When we place our hope in God, we will never be disappointed. But when we instead look for what we think we need, we misplace our hope in:

the job we think is secure
the financial answer to our bills
the debt program that’s going to transform our life
the 401K that’s going to make our retirement comfortable
the weight loss program that is going to make shedding the pounds easy
the husband who is going to make us feel loved and not lonely any more

the ministry that we can put our energies into
the friendship that makes us feel connected
the church with the programs we think will fit our needs

There are oh so many places to deposit our hope and each could yield bitter disappointment.  But the Psalmist wrote: My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

We wait for God only.  Not God plus the answer to our problem.  Not God and the life preserver from some friendly bystander who sees us drowning from the shore.

God.  And if He what He offers to us is a program or plan or a friend, then we accept His gift, but we never depend on the gift itself. 

We hope in God alone.  Only He can provide what we truly need.  And if it’s insufficient or bitter, He can transform it into plentiful abundance and sweet blessing, making “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

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