God’s Patience and Kindness
God speaks tenderly toward Jerusalem. He's kind. He's patient. He's slow to anger. He's abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. So people that are discouraged don't have to feel afraid to come to God with those feelings—those raw emotional feelings—because God expects us to be weak. He expects us to need help.
That understanding that God is a God who sees a need and then meets a need prepares us for when we have discouragement to come to him and say, I'm discouraged. I need courage that I can only find through my Father who is generously willing to give and provide exactly what I need in these moments of discouragement.
In Exodus 16:2 we see the perfect example of discouragement in the Israelites. They're wandering. They don't know why they've been delivered from slavery to wander in the wilderness. They are talking to Moses and Aaron and saying, What is going on here?
And in Exodus 16:3–4 they say:
”Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
As God's people, we can come to him with our discouragement and trust that he's gracious to us.
We feel like every time God is providing for us—the test part—we feel like, Well, maybe God is not pleased with me. Maybe he wants me to do something different. And what we're meant to take from this is that God saw their discouragement and then fed them. He calls them to himself. He understands that they are broken and weary and that they have need, and he freely provides for them.
So as God's people, we can come to him with our discouragement and trust that he's gracious to us. He wants to provide manna for us. He wants to pour out his grace, and we know this because he's already provided Christ.
Lindsey Carlson is the author of A Better Encouragement: Trading Self-Help for True Hope.
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