Hardship and Trust
Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God... Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, NIV).
As they were (at long last) poised to enter the Promised Land, God warned the Israelites that the real danger to their lives had just begun.
Prior to this point, Israel had wandered in a desolate wilderness for forty years, completely dependent on God for everything. Every day they would step outside their little tents, and there would be manna waiting for them, just like the morning paper. God gave them fresh water to drink, a cloud to guide and shade them by day, and a pillar of fire to light their camp by night. Yes, wilderness living came with plenty of hardships. But those very difficulties compelled them to look to the Lord every day, depending on Him for everything.
But then He brought them to the brink of the Promised Land, and they could look across the Jordan and see lush green hills, rippling fields of wheat, flowing rivers, and trees loaded with fruit. They could hardly wait to get in! But God was saying, “Be careful! Watch out, or you’ll get fat and sassy and forget all about Me. Then your troubles will really begin.”
We’ve all experienced it: when our lives are hit with uncertainty, danger, or pain, we fall to our knees and cry out to God. God can use adversity to bring us closer to Him—which is actually where we will experience the greatest blessings of life.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word... It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:67,71, NIV).