Following on from Paul Norris’ teaching on Victory in Defeat we asked him to write a guest post based on Deuteronomy 8:4
Their clothing did not wear out
So, here is a cheerful subject, at some point or another we all go through difficulties and suffer hardship and distress. There are all sorts of reasons that this happens, some self-inflicted, some from external sources. Whatever the reason, it can feel that we are in a wilderness, a desert, with no hope and no way of escape. At times like this we can feel terribly alone and abandoned by God.
So, when you are going through hard times and you feel like you are in the wilderness and God is definitely not doing things the way you thought he would, or the way you thought he should, what do you do? How do you cope? Well sometimes you have to just get your head down and live one day at a time, but I think Deuteronomy 8 v4 gives us a hope to cling to and shows us that we are not on our own.
Deuteronomy 8 v4 says
“Your clothing did not wear out and your foot did not swell”.
I love this verse, the Israelites have been wandering in a desert for 40 years, in this case because they had rebelled against God, but now they were getting ready to enter the land that God had promised them, Moses was reminding them of all that God had done for them and he says, remember ”Your clothing did not wear out and your foot did not swell”.
Imagine the conversation
You can almost imagine a conversation between God and the Israelites.
God: So you have a lot to grumble about, hard isn’t it?
Israelite: Yes it is.
God: Nice jacket.
God: Had it long?
Israelite: (sniffs jacket). Er, yes, had it about, (thinks), about 40 years!!
God: Is that unusual?
Israelite: Just a bit!!
You see, this can almost look like a really insignificant verse; their clothes did not wear out. But what this says to me is that even though things got very, very bad, they were not on their own, God was there. He was there doing a miracle that may seem insignificant to us, but when you are in the desert with no clothes shops it is pretty important. But it was more than just a miracle about clothes, it was God saying, “I am still with you, I haven’t left you”. This is crucially important.
The good news
To feel abandoned by God is the very definition of despair and loneliness. The good news is, God never abandons us, however it may feel. All too often we are blind to signs that God is with us, for the Israelites it was something that they may well have missed, what is it for you?
If you are feeling alone and in the desert abandoned by all, stop for a moment and look around you, what is it that God is doing for you that you have missed, what is that everyday miracle that is happening right now that God is using to give you hope? Don’t miss the small things, that still small voice, that is God saying, “I am here, I am still with you and I will never leave you”.