4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
What an encouraging passage from the Old Testament–God sending snakes to inject some sense into His people. (JK I didn’t include the whole passage.)
7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Okay that’s definitely more comforting. Although suffering came as a result to the Israelites’ faithlessness, God still provided an escape from suffering that involved looking up. Healing came when God’s people took their eyes off their problems and upward to God for help.
Hope is looking up when your life seems to be going downhill.
Jesus also references this passage from the Old Testament when meeting with Nicodemus.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
(photo taken in Guatemala- translated “Jesus Saves”)
Recently I’ve been reading stories of those who have similar medical conditions to mine. By reading these stories, I’ve discovered that many people cope with their medical difficulties by relying on their own inner strength. As a result, many of these stories are disheartening because people become overwhelmed with their diagnosis–so much so that their identity becomes their diagnosis.
But my story is different: While their stories are devoid of hope, mine is nothing but hope because of the gospel. I know that today and its problems are not all I have in front of me. I could choose to dwell on my problems, or I could choose to let my heavenly hope be the “anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
In light of Jesus’ work on the cross, we can find comfort in looking up to Christ. The gospel reveals to us that we, in ourselves, can never do or be enough to save ourselves. If we keep our gaze focused on our failures or suffering, we can’t experience the healing that comes from looking to Christ as our Savior.
18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Take heart, dear sister. The hope we have in the gospel presents us with an upward destination: The suffering we endure on this earth may be a current reality, but it is not our ultimate destiny.
Emily (@ejenkins220) is an author and editor at thegracescripts.com. She is passionate about ministry + sharing in her brokenness. Emily currently attends Samford University and is studying Religion. She lives in Alabama.