See if this intreaty sounds vaguely familiar: “Dear Lord, this particular trial in front of me right now is WAY too much to bear. I have got to have some relief. How can I be expected to keep functioning if this continues. It’s affecting me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s downright awful. It has infiltrated every facet of my life. I cannot enjoy anything in my life while I have this problem going on. Please, please release me from this trial. ”
So, the desired relief comes…perhaps with some residue, but the trial abates. We look out our window and see the sun shining again. And we are so grateful that we….
Feel the respite and go on our merry way.
When we read the condensed version of Moses and Pharoah’s wranglings in Exodus 5-11, I can see my own life condensed into those few chapters. It’s easy to cast dispersions at Pharoah for ignoring the obvious power of God in his life. How could he not see what was going on? A plague comes, he begs for relief, the desired relief is given and then he hardens his heart and it’s business as usual (see Exodus 8:8-15 for example). This goes on through several iterations of trials; but always Pharoah responds the same way. AAACK! This is ME! And who hasn’t made a deal with the Lord in a moment of agony and then completely ignored the deal when the pain releases? Clearly there is a better way.
Crying out for relief is NORMAL (see Luke 18:35-38) and unfortunately, forgetting the Lord’s mercy when he relieves us is normal too (see Luke 17: 11-17). We must resist the natural man ways and invite that natural man to a higher place when the Lord sends respite. Like the blind man in Luke 18:35-43, a higher reaction would be to recognize the desired relief, glorify God and follow Him…just a little bit better-as a sign of gratitude. You know, a ‘pause’ in the endlessly repeating ‘playlist’ that is our lives. Perhaps it’s a prayer dedicated to gratitude. Or a fast dedicated to gratitude. Or some temple time dedicated to gratitude. Or a conversation dedicated to gratitude. Or a slight change of behavior dedicated to gratitude. Something. Some deliberate, personal acknowledgement that we know by whose power we are being upheld and in whose arms we are finding respite. That Pharoah! He seemed like such an idiot.