“At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Zin and moved from place to place. Eventually, they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink.”
At your command, they ended up camping where there was no water.
In hindsight, you made water come gushing out of a rock, so it was no big deal. But at the time, thousands of people were losing daylight and there was NO WATER. No time to move somewhere else, tormented by thirst from a long day’s journey, not knowing how far they’d have to travel tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, and still find no water, and prod their livestock on with no water, and watch their kids with no water.
Anyone who doesn’t know You starts to ask: “Who exactly is running this operation?! How can He be this All-Knowing God if He led us here?!”
And even those who do know You fight back those questions.
But if I know You well, and I’m here by your command, and there’s no water, I start watching closely to see what You will do.
Because I know that You don’t lead those who follow You into traps. You don’t bring them into something that wasn’t planned out all that well. You don’t drop them into a helpless situation and leave them to fend for themselves.
That’s not who You are. That’s not how a good shepherd acts, and You call yourself the Good Shepherd.
You are a God of details, of “do not be afraid,” of “stand still and see what I will do.”
And when You direct my steps into dry places, I must learn to expect that You will bring the water. When you direct my steps into danger, I must learn to remember that You stay and stand guard. When I don’t understand why You led me here, I must hold on all the tighter to who I know You are.
Because if I discard what I know of You when I interpret what’s going on, I come away with wrong assumptions that damage my heart. I turn on You and complain, instead of just asking for help from a God I know is ready and willing to help me.
To emotionally survive what we will walk through, I must learn how to keep my heart from going there. I must look around, see that there’s no water, take a deep breath and say,
“Okay, I don’t understand this, but I still trust You; so I will watch closely to see what You will do.”