I am a pastor. A speaker. An American Sign Language/English interpreter. And an extreme extrovert. I like to talk. I get paid to talk, I’m expected to talk in every role I’m in, I volunteer to talk, and all of my down time is spent–you guessed it–talking. That’s why it was so difficult when I got hit with the plague (i.e. allergies and a bad cold) this fall. I suffered through the first week, but when day 8 hit, my voice was gone. I had nothing left. All people could hear was a pathetic, crackly whisper.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had voice problems. However, I’ve found that when my voice gets hit like this, I immediately start questioning the faithfulness of God. “Don’t You KNOW that I’m supposed to speak?!” “Don’t You understand that when I don’t show up for work, I don’t get paid?!” “Aren’t You supposed to be in control of all this? Why can’t you fix it?!”
Isn’t it funny that even when we’re railing against God, or life, or circumstances, or the dry, allergen-filled, desert air, He is still communicating with us? Three days in to having no voice, I was reading Psalm 78. The Psalm is telling the story of Israel, teaching us the lessons handed down to us by those in the past. As I’m reading, I land on these words:
They [the Israelites] even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.” When the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. Psalms 78:19-22 NLT
I know. “Thanks so much for the encouragement!” Right?
But do you see why He was angry?
The Israelites acknowledged that God gave them water from a rock. WATER. From a ROCK. Don’t just pass by this because you know the story. God did something completely impossible, and all of the people knew it. They saw it. They drank the water that didn’t exist one minute and was rushing from a piece of stone the next.
God can hydrate us, they said, but there is no way He can feed us. It’s just too impossible for God to be able to provide food–even though we’ve already seen a miracle of sustenance!
So often in my own life, I see God do one thing (like complete healing of my voice), but I then proceed to think that He isn’t capable of doing something else… even though I’ve seen the water pour out of a rock. I remember the water, but I forget the miracle. I forget His glory and the water just becomes water.
God has used you already. Pastor, leader, chaplain, or friend, He has brought water out of a rock in your life and through you. Remember your history. Remember His glory. Remember the miracles that He has done in your life and in the people with whom you minister. Don’t let the water just be water. Let God remind you of His faithfulness in the past. And remember that if He made water come out of a rock, the other stuff isn’t that hard for Him either.
Emily Hill, Development Pastor at Sought Church, Las Vegas
Emily fell in love with Jesus as an 18-year-old freshman in college. From the beginning, she has adored God’s Word and sharing about Him with others. She is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God and her passion is to share how our stories fit into God’s greater story, using humor, Scripture, and the tales of everyday life, check out her work at www.emilyshill.com. Emily currently resides in Las Vegas and is part of the pastoral team of a church startup in Downtown. It’s a big change from her home in Washington State, but is an exciting journey watching God move!