Christ Triumphant


Christian Life Is Not Always Green Pastures, April 15

Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. Exodus 17:6. CTr 112.1

Though the way may be rough, we must exercise implicit faith in the power of the Lord to guide us. The experience of the children of Israel when journeying through the wilderness is a lesson for us on this point. “All the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin ... according to the commandments of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.” ... CTr 112.2

He who was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud was leading them, and it was by His express command that they were encamped at this place. The General of the armies of heaven knew of the lack of water at Rephidim, and He brought His people hither to test their faith. But how poorly they proved themselves to be a people whom He could trust. Again and again He had manifested Himself to His chosen people. He had slain the first-born of all families of Egypt to accomplish their deliverance, and had brought them out of the land of their captivity with a high hand. He had fed them with angels’ food, and had covenanted to bring them into the Promised Land. But now, when brought into difficulty, they broke into rebellion, distrusted God, and complained that Moses had brought them and their children out of Egypt only that they might die of thirst in the wilderness. By their murmurings and lack of faith they dishonored God and placed themselves where they could not appreciate His mercies. CTr 112.3

Many today think that when they begin their Christian life they will find freedom from all want and difficulty. But all who take up their cross to follow Christ come to a Rephidim in their experience. Life is not all made up of green pastures and cooling streams. Disappointment overtakes us, privations come, circumstances occur that bring us into difficult places. As we follow in the narrow way, doing our best as we think, we find that grievous trials come to us. We think that we must have walked by our own wisdom far away from God. Conscience-stricken, we reason that if we had walked with God we would not have suffered so.... CTr 112.4

But of old the Lord led His people to Rephidim, and He may choose to bring us there also in order to test our faithfulness and loyalty to Him. In mercy to us He does not always place us in the easiest places, for if He did, in our self-sufficiency we would forget that the Lord is our helper in time of necessity.—Letter 24, 1896. CTr 112.5