By Diane Hwang
Around the time that our son was born, I found myself unemployed after declining a job relocation offer. And with the loss of my income, a new baby, and my husband exploring a career change, my parents generously offered us their spare room while we waited and believed for what God would have for us next. While we planned for the move to be very short-term, we ended up staying with them much longer than we expected.
After over a year of sharing my parents’ spare bedroom with our son, I found myself grumbling and complaining to God because we were expecting our second child and were still without a home of our own. As many of our friends seemed to be celebrating their first homes and flourishing careers, I couldn’t help but feel as if God had forgotten about us. As I continued to complain, He gently, but firmly interrupted me:
“You are complaining about the very thing you prayed for. I am faithfully providing for you in this season—it just doesn’t look like what you expected.”
His words stopped me in my tracks as I remembered a simple prayer of mine from a year before.
I was pregnant with our first child at the time and while I was planning to return to my full-time job after the birth of our son, I found myself quietly whispering to God my desire to stay home with him; it wasn’t a bold prayer that I brought before God with great faith and passion, but was more of a heart whisper that I prayed almost without thinking. As time went on, I forgot about the prayer, but God never did.
As He brought this prayer to mind, I realized that in the midst of this difficult season, God was faithfully answering and providing a way for me to stay home with our son. As I thought about it more, I was reminded of the Israelites complaining in the wilderness right after God rescued them and performed great miracles in their midst. When God’s provision looked different from what they expected, they quickly began complaining and grumbling, just as I did when I felt stuck in a wilderness of our own.
This led me to read Exodus, where I learned three things to help us walk with great faith and expectation through every season of life:
1. REMEMBER GOD’S PAST FAITHFULNESS
“And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.” (Psalm 77:10-12)
When in a wilderness season, our circumstances can begin to alter how we see God and those same complaints that consumed the Israelites in Exodus 16 can quickly consume us; it’s in those moments that we can either let God’s past faithfulness fuel our faith or let our current circumstances fuel our doubt. As we make the choice to meditate on all His mighty works, our faith is stirred and hope is awakened, enabling us to move forward with great expectancy.
2. LOOK FOR GOD’S FAITHFULNESS NOW
“Then the LORD said to Moses, "Look, I'm going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” (Exodus 16:4)
“Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)
I love that God provided the Israelites with food in the wilderness that tasted like honey while on their way to a land flowing with milk and honey—it was as if He was giving them a sweet foretaste of His promise on the other side of their wilderness. Just as God miraculously provided manna for the Israelites each day, I’m reminded that if we look for reminders of His promise in the midst of our wilderness, we too will find it in the faithfulness of His daily provision for us. And as we look for manna in our own life, the grumbling is silenced and replaced with thankfulness.
3. TELL OF HIS FAITHFULNESS TO FUTURE GENERATIONS
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about His power and His mighty wonders…So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” (Psalm 78:4, 7)
Meditating on God’s faithfulness in the wilderness is important because how we see the wilderness seasons in our lives will impact how our children see God. Furthermore, how we choose to respond to difficult circumstances has the power to either point our children to God or away from Him. As parents, when we set our gaze on our faithful God during the trying seasons of life and speak of His miraculous works, we are sowing seeds of faith into the lives of our children that will bear great fruit.
Though our recent wilderness season was difficult, it ended up being such a special season full of God’s provision and miracles. He used our time with my family to forge a beautiful relationship between our children and their grandparents, and my parents were also able to provide the help and support we needed during the traumatic complications of our daughter’s birth and my husband’s big career change. While we can’t control the seasons that are ahead of us, we can control our perspective and turn what we see as a lonely and unending wilderness into a beautiful season of faith that impacts not just us, but bears fruit for our children and the generations to come.
Diane and her husband have been married for three years and are raising their two small children in the rainy, but beautiful city of Seattle. After years in sales, Diane is enjoying her life as a stay-at-home mom and volunteers at her local church while her husband begins his new career as a police officer. She’s a lover of coffee, fresh mountain air, quality time with family and friends, and the Pacific Northwest. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!