• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Neighbors, New Normal's & Numbers

I am a social person and love being with family and friends. This social distancing has certainly cramped my style! I know it is selfish to even whine about this because so many people have many obstacles in their way right now on top of this pandemic. One of the blessings of this time of social distancing has been my neighbors. I have known them and cared about them but not like now. We have learned how to gather in the yards - at least six feet apart - bringing our own chairs and snacks so we do not touch anything or anyone. This has become an important part of many of my days! We are able to bring our burdens to each other and encourage each other. Most of the time, the very things that were bringing me to tears have us laughing. We realize, although we are all in different boats, we are in the same storm. So for now, this is our new normal.

Today I happened upon Numbers 11: 11-14, "He asked the Lord, 'Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?  Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?  Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.'" My thoughts went to this pandemic we are in. While I do not have the weight of the world on my shoulders, I do feel I am called to be an encourager for others. There are days I want to whine like Moses did.

I think Moses came close to being aggravated with God for giving him the job of taking care of ungrateful people. I think this prayer sounds very much like some of mine when I am aggravated. Moses was feeling sorry for himself and ready to quit. I have those days! What I admire is that Moses was honest and cried out to God. God is big and He can take it! We may as well cry out to Him because He knows what we are feeling and thinking anyway! The other thing I admire about Moses was this wasn't just a job. He believed this was what he was called by God to do. He was trying to be obedient. He didn't want to walk away - he just needed a pity party. He continued being their leader.

Notice how God responded to Moses. Verse 18, “...The Lord heard you when you wailed..." God hears us when we cry out to Him. Verse 16 -17, "The Lord said to Moses: 'Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people...I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.'" I love how God always shows up and shows off. He is ready, just waiting for us to ask Him! His ways are better than anything we can ever imagine. I would not have thought to ask God to take some of the power of the Spirit from me and put on them. I would have been like, "no, please don't take any of that power from me!" He knows we need others. He knows we were made for communion!

God does not get angry at or condemn Moses. He understands and validates Moses' feelings and comes up with a solution to help him from feeling overwhelmed. He may be the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, our Savior, God Almighty, Creator of the universe but He still hears the cries of the needy. He understands our feelings because Jesus came to earth and experienced all that we go through including our weaknesses, our temptations, our limitations, etc. We must bear whatever burdens and responsibilities that God gives us. And at times - especially times like these - that is not always easy. When our problems feel too big for us and are overwhelming us we can cry out to God.

I am thankful that even though my problems are not as big as many others, God still knows they are problems for me. And He meets me where I am, when I cry out to Him, and always makes things better! He is my Encourager! Thanks be to God!


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