I felt my ears perk up when Dr. Milton started talking about new beginnings in his sermon yesterday. Like several others at Redeemer, our family has moved to a new house this summer and I feel in many ways like we are embarking on a new journey.
I related completely to Dr. Milton’s comments about the real, true beginning being when reality sets in. A new house holds all kinds of shiny, happy promise in the initial walk-throughs, and even in the first few days when new paint goes on the wall, new carpeting goes down (thanks, Tim Brown!), and rocks go on the fireplace (thanks, Derly Cothron!).
But then come the days when you realize not all of the light switches work, and there’s a funny smell in the back room, and you discover the oven is broken.
The story from Exodus 15 about the Israelites coming to Marah hits very close to home. When the shininess wears off and something is broken, I find it all too easy to slide into bitterness. Just like them, when one of my needs is not met immediately, or let’s be honest, even one of my “wants,” I am quick to grumble, complain, or even go off on a rant.
How cool that God knew this about me – and the Israelites – and knew that this disease of bitterness would be so pervasive that we would need Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals. Bitterness is not just a minor slip-up, or an “add-on” sin; it is deep, corrosive, and contagious to others around us. We need to be healed, not just forgiven.
I love that when God showed Moses the tree that would heal the waters at Marah, He already knew about the ultimate Tree that would heal us all, borne by, and then bearing the Perfect Redeemer.
Yesterday afternoon I had to laugh as we experienced our first real, prolonged rainstorm in our new house: we realized our chimney leaks as water began to pool in the kitchen! I immediately remembered that I have a choice in how to respond to my “water problem.” I could slide into bitterness… OR I could let the tree of Calvary touch me to heal that bitterness and make my response sweet instead.
Dr. Milton said that “the beginning requires a response that sets the pattern for the rest of the journey.” I’m praying that the responses I have in this new home would set a new pattern for me and my family, that the cross of Christ would touch the waters here, and that our home will be a Marah.
Mrs. Amy Frank
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