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Is there a Purpose to my Pain?

In Deuteronomy 8, Moses reminds the Israelites of two things God did for them and three reasons why. I am listing them below starting with God’s engagement in their lives.

First, God led the Israelites through a dreadful desert, when they did not have a roadmap (verse 15).

Second, God gave the Israelites food to eat and ensured they had what they needed to live (verse 16).

But why did God ask them to travel through a dreadful desert and give them food when they were in this dangerous terrain? Moses cites three reasons –

1. For the Israelites to have a humble lifestyle (verse 2). As Dr. Mark Leary observed, humble people do not think that they should be treated special. They recognize that all people are equally valuable.

2. For the Israelites to know themselves (verse 2). These forty years of wandering helped the Israelites to be self-aware. To know what is in our heart we must examine ourselves. When we examine ourselves, we will know whether we are walking in faith or walking in our strength (Psalm 4:4).

3. For the Israelites to learn that their relationship with God was far more important than their need for food (verse 3).

Interestingly, when we look at the lives of great leaders and missionaries, we see that they too walked through dreadful deserts and experienced God’s provision in the difficult time. Their journey taught them have a humble lifestyle, examine themselves, and realize that their relationship with God was of supreme importance – just as the desert wanderings taught the Israelites.

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