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“The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deut. 26:8-9 NRSV).
There are times in our lives in which the promises of the above passage are as real to us as air. We catch a glimpse of God’s handiwork in our lives and feel like we stand right in the middle of the “land flowing with milk and honey.” We feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as a real and powerful source of our strength and hope. The planets seem to be aligned and all is well in our world. To sum it all up; life is good!
Then there are times when God’s presence seems so far away that we will never get back to the warmth of the heavenly light. We struggle to stand up as the wind races through our lives and chills us to the bone deliberately ridding us of our joy. We are hopeless. The last place that we feel like we are is in a “land of milk and honey.”
Our hope as we struggle is that God’s promises are true and that our faith in His abiding love will pull us from the pit of despair. I know what it is like to feel separated from God’s presence. My youngest son was just recently in the hospital. One day I was sitting with him in his hospital room and I tried to think through how many times he had been hospitalized in the last three months. I couldn’t remember. There had been too many times to count. I lost track. It is bad enough that my sons have bleeding disorders, but the constant hospitalizations are overwhelming. It is hard to feel like I am in the “land of milk and honey” when I am sleeping on a tiny mattress in a hospital room.
When I am stressed beyond all measure I reach for something that will sustain me and give me hope. That is when I discover God’s presence. I read that God delivered us out of the land of Egypt where we were slaves and had no place in society. God radically saved us. This is where the center of my hope springs out like a fountain. If God saved the people of Israel from the weight of slavery, I will be rescued from my situation. The “land of milk and honey” may not look as pretty, but on the inside where it really counts I will know the goodness of God. This promised land’s source is the Spirit of God. Divine love pours out of us and through our world restoring life to all that it touches. We are to be the wellspring by which the Heavenly One flows.