"Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, 'Give us water, that we may drink'" (Exodus 17:1, NKJV).
It seemed like a reasonable request. Moses had led the people out of their captivity, and now they were far away from even the meager provisions they had while in Egypt. They were both tired and hungry, and now they faced certain death without a supply of vital water.
But there was more to it than a simple request for water. In fact, it wasn't a request at all, but an accusation. They went on to say, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt? Not only are we going to die, but so will our children, and so will all of our livestock!" (see verse 3). Instead of trusting that God would provide once more in the clutch, as He had done time and time again, they went from one crisis to the next, always wagging their finger toward heaven, and doubting the goodness of their God. Somehow they doubted that the same God who brought them out had the power to take them in. They gave Him credit for saving them, but doubted now that He could sustain them.
We can be just like that if we are not careful.
When things do not go our way, when the doctor calls with bad news, or the promotion you wanted is given to someone else, or the children stray and disobey, it is easy to fall into the trap of blaming God. Of second-guessing our faith. Of re-evaluating the trustworthiness of our God.
But regardless of our circumstances, two things remain true, giving us all the ability to worship God, even in the deserts and valleys of life. The first truth is that He is God. The second truth is that He is good. When we believe the first but not the second, we believe that God is punishing us, making us to suffer either sadistically, or apathetically, or both. When we believe the second truth but not the first, we may acknowledge His love and care, but we end up doubting His strength and resources. We must affirm both truths.
When we do, we can worship God in every circumstance, because we esteem Him trustworthy, faithful, and true. When you face difficult times, God certainly invites you to cast all your care on Him (1 Peter 5:7), but do so with faith and confidence, knowing that He is able to meet all your need according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19), and knowing that regardless of the outcome, He is still God, and He is still good. Worship Him in the desert, and streams of living water will flow (Isa. 35:6).
Scripture for reflection and prayer:
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6, NKJV).