One of the things I’ve never understood has been the way God allows things to fester over time. To build up pressure until I’m sure I cannot handle one more thing.
Except, maybe– maybe I do get it a little.
At least, this morning I did as I read through the story of the bitter waters at Marah.
There the Israelites have been in the desert. They had traveled for three days without water and they finally find a spring.
Can you imagine the way the young boys must have run to the edges of the water? Thrust their faces into it? Then jerked back choking and coughing. Bitter water. Nothing to sate their deep thirst.
They grumbled. Just as I grumble when I taste bitterness. Especially after years in the desert. Three years without babies and I grumbled because the promise was right there in front of me– but when I grabbed onto it, bitterness embraced me.
But, in those moments, when all I can taste is bitterness, can I remember? Who is this Lord whom I serve? Who is He?
He is Jehovah-Ropheka. The Lord who heals me. The One who takes my bitterness and makes it sweet.
I look at my daughter every morning. She stumbles down the stairway in her pink flannel nightgown, black hair snarled around her face. If she sees me sitting with my devotions, she’ll come quiet and curl up on the couch beside me.
Years and years of bitterness– far more than the three which I thought would kill me– and finally, Jehovah-Ropheka has placed the wood in the water. Bitter becomes sweet.
And I know, again today, that He is good.
And I know that I need Him. I know it in a deeper way than I ever could have known it before. I cannot survive without the God who heals me.