When I teach my Scripture students about the Exodus story, I tell them that Easter and Passover often fall very near one other on the calendar. Just as God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt through the blood of the lamb, Jesus’ blood freed us from our slavery to sin. Hence Jesus’ title, “The Lamb of God.”
True to form, this year Passover for the Jewish people ended the evening of April 4 – Christianity’s Easter Sunday. While I do enjoy celebrating the new life of Easter, Passover holds a special place in my heart as well. Not only do I enjoy teaching it – as one student once told me, “it’s a good story!” – I’ve experienced my own personal Passover.
Going through a bitter divorce ten years ago, I – like the Israelite slaves in Egypt – felt that God had forgotten about me. I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to save my marriage, but my prayers were met with silence. It seemed as if God’s answer was “no”. Over several months, my divorce proceeded on its forward march, and God didn’t seem to care. I was angry at God. So very angry.
A few months after the divorce was finalized, God and I were still not on speaking terms. I carried that anger and bitterness toward Him, refusing to let it go. How could He not help me? When I called on Him in my time of need, why wasn’t He there?
I wish I could tell a more exciting story, but it happened one evening when I was walking my dog. I was thinking about the lesson I was currently teaching – the Exodus story. And then it hit me. It hit me like the bricks the Israelites were forced to make in slavery. I WAS FREE.
The Israelites were freed from physical abuse – I was free from a marriage of emotional and mental abuse. All that time I spent being angry and bitter with God? God was freeing me. He didn’t send plagues, or the Angel of Death, or part the Red Sea. No. He sent me a kind and patient lawyer, a skilled therapist, two wonderful friends from work, a new apartment where I could find rest and peace. God was listening. He was working His wonders on my behalf – making a way - just like he did for the Israelites. But I was too busy being angry to notice.
There are three answers to prayer: Yes. Not yet. I have something better for you.
God had something better planned for the Israelites - a new life in the Promised Land of Canaan. Just so, God had something better planned for me. The next time you are thinking – like I did – that God is saying “no” to your prayers, maybe what He is really saying is, “My child, I have something better for you.”
When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots, an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you. Deuteronomy 20:1
This Monday Minute is brought to you by Joyce Ende, who is currently listening to Waymaker by Leeland.