The Israelites, the Pharisees and the disciples are easily the most frustrating three groups in Bible. Reading their story, it is nearly impossible to not yell through the Bible at their lack of foresight into God's provision and purpose. God would say, "Do A," and they would choose Z. I cannot help, as the entirety of their stories unfold, to be irate at their mistrust of God's faithfulness. As my frustration boils over, it is horribly clear – I am them.
I am the Israelites.
As their captivity became too much to bear, they cried out to God for deliverance. He remembered them. As their freedom looked to be coming to an early end, God parted the waters and destroyed the enemy before their eyes. As their hunger and thirst whelmed up, God provided sustenance just beyond their tents. As their legs tired, God gave them a promise of what was to come. After all of this, who could possibly forget the faithfulness of this God? Somehow they did. They continued to worship false gods, to beg for captivity once again, to weep and wail at their misery. How?
I am the disciples.
They were chosen directly by Jesus for a holy moment in history. They were able to witness miracles, healings and every teaching of the Christ. They were able to ask questions, to hear answers and to inquire about the confusing parables directly to the teacher himself. They were given tremendous power to heal and perform miracles. After all of this, how could they deny the power in the Holy Spirit? Somehow they did. They questioned who would be the greatest, they couldn't stay awake to pray in the times of greatest need, they lacked substantial faith, they cowered in fear at the capture of their leader. Why?
I am the Pharisees.
They were the most educated and religious of the day. They knew how to mask their own sin and appear blameless to the masses. They did what the law required and nothing more. They were proud of their high societal position. They were highly trained and highly skilled at their skill. They knew everything conventional wisdom could allow. After all of this, how could they miss Jesus so completely? Somehow they did. They mocked the followers of Jesus, they tried to earn the favor of God, they believed they were above the rest of the faithful and they completely rejected Jesus as their Savior.
If you were to read the story of my life, from beginning to end, you would see the same things. Stories of God's amazing faithfulness – forgotten. Stories of God's tremendous power and protection – neglected. Stories of God's loving kindness – ignored. Stories of God's discipline – rejected. My life story would be equally as frustrating as the Israelites, the Pharisees and the disciples.
It is this realization that provokes me to examine my relationship with the same God of the Israelites, Pharisees and disciples to see how I have forgotten past faithfulness, past providence, past goodness and to look forward to the future. A future of hope filled with faith over fear, action over immobility, love over rationale and freedom over slavery.
God is the author and perfecter of my story – thankfully, I am not.