Tuesday, December 3, 2013

31 Days of Prayer: Complacency

"Painting Pictures of Egypt" is a song by former school teacher turned musician Sara Groves.

Listening to this song today, I thought about my own life. I'm at a place where I'm looking back at the past experience and thinking, "Well it wasn't perfect but at least it was predictable in the payment for my work." And though that particular job was not my passion or skill set and it was a tough time for me, sometimes I find myself as Sara would say in her song, "painting pictures of Egypt" glossing over the tough times I went through with pretty paint trying to make everything seem as if it was all smooth sailing and that the problems were not that bad.

Before I move on, let me explain what the context of the song, "Painting Pictures of Egypt" is referring to. There was a time in human history when the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians in the land of Egypt for 400 years. The slaves worked really hard and were treated terribly but they were fed and had a place to live. But nonetheless they were oppressed. Long story short, God used a man named Moses to free His people from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land which flowed with milk and honey where they would no longer be slaves but free. Only problem was after the people left the the place where they'd been enslaved and were traveling through the the wilderness as they journeyed to the promised land, they started to complain. 
Now the background information is that this was not a journey of a few hours. It took days and while God provided for their basic needs including food from heaven called manna, the Israelites grew sick of it. They complained that they were tired of manna and thought they would die of thirst in the desert so they started "painting pictures of Egypt", wishing they were slaves again because at least then they had all the variety of food they wanted to eat and they had everything they wanted. They painted such a pretty picture that they totally forgot that the horrible way they were treated by the Egyptian slave masters. They failed to remember how difficult the work they were made to do each day was and they forgot that when they were slaves they did not have freedom.

Now that you know the context of the story and Sara's song, what do you think? Have you ever found yourself "painting pictures of Egypt"? And by that I mean, you were in a bad situation that you prayed about to God to deliver you from but once God delivered you from that situation and started to lead you to your promised land (a better life), you started to look backward to life as you knew it because on your journey forward to a better life, it was taking longer than you thought? So you find yourself looking back and longing for the complacency you felt when you were in a situation that no matter how horrible it was, it was predictable?

Well if you are "painting pictures of Egypt", I would like to advise you - and me - to take it to the Lord in prayer. God didn't lead you out of a tough situation to have you return to it. God didn't say He has something  better for you (your "promised land") if He wasn't going to help you in your journey to receive it. And no, your journey into the plans and future God has for you (Jeremiah 29:11) may not be short as in a few hours or days or weeks. It may take months or in my case, years! But just like the lyrics in the song by Sara Groves say -- and I paraphrase-- if your destiny comes too quick, you may not appreciate it and you may not even recognize it! So dear friend, I encourage you to continue taking your situation of any sorts (work, home, family life, relationships, etc.) to God and then continue praying to Him about it every day and allowing God to guide you on your journey each day, trusting that He will help you arrive safely to your destination and it will be better than you dreamed.

So again, I encourage you if you are still painting pictures of Egypt, put down your paintbrush and move forward in faith toward all the wonderful plans God has destined for your life story.

God bless you!

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