Be-Shallach
For the week of January 18, 2003 / 15 Shevat 5763
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 13:17 - 17:16
Haftarah: Shoftim / Judges 4:4 - 5:31

Beyond Our Own Resources

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you" (Shemot / Exodus 16:4).

Life has its challenges. Some are simple and easy, others complex and difficult. Different people handle life's challenges differently. Some people love a challenge - the bigger the better. Others prefer life to be predictable and easy to control. They prefer routine over surprises.

I imagine a person's sense of their resources makes a difference in how they handle life's challenges. If you think that you know how to handle any situation, then you will face the unexpected with confidence. But if you think that you can only deal with those things that you have encountered in the past, then you may find new challenges overwhelming.

Whatever your confidence level, everyone has a limit. Each of us only has a limited amount of resources at our disposal. Even the most confident may find themselves in situations that seem absolutely impossible to handle.

When the people of Israel left Egypt, they entered a stage of their history where they found themselves in situation after situation beyond their own resources. They continually lived in a state of almost complete helplessness. They even lacked the ability to supply themselves with their most basic needs.

But while they were beyond their resources, God was with them. And because God was with them, they actually had limitless resources. Their inability to provide for their needs was irrelevant. God provided for them miraculously.

Some people wish they could see a miracle, but don't realize that many miracles happen in the kinds of situations where we are beyond our own resources. Many people spend so much of their time and energy avoiding these situations that they make experiencing the miraculous just about impossible.

We donít realize that our avoidance of these situations may actually be our way of avoiding God himself. To deny his ability to provide for us in times of our greatest need is to deny him.

I am not suggesting that we should place ourselves in risky situations for the purpose of experiencing the miraculous. This is not about putting ourselves in impossible situations to prove God's existence.

What I am saying is that if you really want to experience God, then you need to be willing to let him take you beyond your own capabilities and resources. If it is he who is leading you, you can face whatever challenges arise before you.

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